Half of 450 abattoirs inspected by health authorities recently have been declared below the required standard for meat hygiene.

And, according to the Department of Animal Health, the sale and use of unauthorised food-safety certificates in some localities is making the distribution of unsafe meat much easier.

On top of this, unchecked animal organs from China are reported to be still entering through border provinces such as Lang Son or Lao Cai.

As Tet, the national lunar new year holiday, is fast approaching (January 23), State and local authorities are tightening controls over the circulation and sale of food products.

According to Pham Van Dong, deputy head of the Department of Animal Health, in November, 33 out of the 63 provinces and cities throughout the country have carried out inspections to classify slaughterhouses and evaluate their operations.

The national multi-sector steering committee on food safety requested inspectors to focus on goods popular during Tet, including meat, beer, wine, drinks, buns and sweets.

At the committee’s request, the Ministry of Health and other ministries will set up 10 groups to perform food inspections in another 21 cities and provinces.

The inspections will focus on food-safety certificates, labels, evidence of product origin, processing tools and hygienic conditions.

Nguyen Van Dong, deputy head of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, said at a meeting held in Hanoi on Tuesday that city authorities are also working to ensure sufficient supply of goods and minimise strong fluctuations in prices over Tet.

And the Department of Industry and Trade has told enterprises to reserve sufficient supplies of essential goods - at the right price./.