Hanoi promotes food safety and hygiene inspections hinh anh 1Inspectors checking products at a seafood shop in Long Bien Market (Photo: hanoimoi.vn)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - The agricultural sector of Hanoi has enhanced management of food hygiene and safety in food production and trading in recent times, according to Hanoi's Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

These efforts included inspection, evaluation, classification and development of safe agricultural chains to control the quality of agricultural products.

However, implementing these efforts had faced many difficulties, especially among small-scale establishments.

According to Hanoi’s Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Product Quality Control Department, the city has 17,417 agricultural production and trading establishments.

Since earlier this year, the department had evaluated and classified 51 establishments, of which 13 did not meet standards for food hygiene. They face a range of punishments, from fines to closure.

“The department carried out inspections for five establishments in the city and found violations of food safety and hygiene in two of them,” Le Trung Kien, the department’s inspector told Hanoi Moi Newspaper.

“The establishments’ owners could not show the certificates of food safety, and failed to fully comply with product storage conditions and hygiene of warehouses,” Kien said.

Regarding difficulties inspecting and handling violations in small-scale establishments, the department’s vice director Ngo Dinh Loat said: “The number of agricultural production establishments in the city was very large but the number of inspection staff was modest.”

“Particularly, most entities were small scale. Many of them did not have business registrations and their trading was mainly in wholesale markets,” Loat said.

He said some establishments had even moved headquarters without telling authorities, making managing them difficult.

To improve the efficiency of food safety and hygiene control, Hanoi’s Agricultural and Rural Development Department will continue to enhance information dissemination on mass media about food management regulations and choosing safe products with clear origins.

According to vice director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department Ta Van Tuong, the department will ask units to strengthen unscheduled inspections on production and trading entities and take samples of products for testing to discover violations of food safety and hygiene regulations.

All establishments of agro-fishery production and trading must have certificates of food safety and hygiene, Tuong said.

District governments should allocate funds and arrange staff per the requirements of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the municipal authority.

The establishments found not to comply with regulations should be closed and the owners should be fined.

It was necessary to promote tracking origins of agro products by QR codes to help customers access safe products and create healthy competition in the market, Loat said.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Anh, deputy head of the economic department of Thanh Tri district, said by the end of this year, the district would enhance management of quality and safety of agro-forestry-fishery production and trading.

The district planned to organise training courses on food safety and hygiene for commune-level staff, Anh said./.