Illustrative image (Source: VGP)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Health has proposed to the Government reducing or simplifying the number of administrative procedures in food safety management.

Deputy Director of the health ministry’s Vietnam Food Administration Tran Viet Nga said recently that five groups of administrative procedures had been proposed to be cut, including food production and trading conditions, announcement of food product and State inspection on foods, certification on meeting food safety standards, and food advertisement and food safety knowledge certification.

Specifically, the health ministry had proposed the reduction of eight out of 50 conditions related to food production and trading under the Decree 67/2016 NĐ-CP issued on July 1, 2016, of which five are for food producers and three are for food traders, Nga said.

Next month, the health ministry will also request the Government to amend three administrative procedures on food product announcements under the Decree 38/2012/NĐ-CP which details regulations on the implementation of some articles of the Food Safety Law.

The ministry proposes cutting down procedures on business licences, enterprise registration certifications for food importers or food safety certifications for imports, quality control and regular inspection of plants and detailed product information and samples.

“If the proposal is approved, the time on verifying food certificates would be reduced from six to three days for food imports.”

Nga added that the health ministry will ask the Government to revise several contents relating to the management of imported foods that are currently under State management of the ministries of industry and trade, and agriculture and rural development, with an aim to unify the State inspection procedure of the three ministries.

However, Nga said, groups of health food and nutrient food for children under 36 months of age and mixed foodstuffs locally produced in the country will still be strictly controlled and examined.

The health ministry also asked customs authorities to yearly inspect a maximum of 5 percent of imported products that have already been granted food safety licences by exporting countries that Vietnam has signed international agreements on mutual recognition on quality inspection, and products that have been manufactured by companies with HACCP or ISO 22000, GMP, IFS or BRC standards.

The ministry has launched its online public services, level 4, in several administrative procedures in the fields of food safety, drugs, cosmetics and medical equipment management.

The health ministry’s legal department director Nguyen Huy Quang said that the ministry has put in place plans to simplify its administrative procedures since 2010, cutting down 227 procedures and saving time and money for local and international enterprises.

In 2015, the health sector simplified many administrative procedures relating to examination and treatment, saving 300 billion VND (13 million USD) per year, according to him.-VNA