A moon cake manufacturing workshop. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Inspections of moon cakes, jams, candies and other foods for the Mid-Autumn Festival will be enhanced nationwide at the request of the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety and Hygiene Department. 

The inspection will be carried out before and after the major annual festival, which falls on October 4.

Starting on September 5, the capital city’s food safety and hygiene agencies are conducting inspections at wholesale markets, supermarkets, and large food-and-beverage service establishments.

Inspectors will look for fake, out-of-date and substandard products, and non-standard food additives and materials at large food manufacturing, processing, trading and importing establishments.

The substandard products and those without clear indications of origins will not be allowed into the market, and food and beverage service establishments found in violation would have their operations suspended.

Moon cake workshops found violating food hygiene standards would be "shamed" in mass media.

Moon cakes are round pastries filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Many are made by high-end bakeries and packaged in elegant fashion, but other makers neglect food safety regulations and use cheap and unoriginal raw materials to hike profits. The public is therefore being urged to buy moon cakes and other festival food produced by prestige cake makers and in stores meeting hygiene standards.

Tran Ngoc Tu, Head of Hanoi’s Food Safety and Hygiene Department, says the capital city has hundreds of moon cake workshops, many of which are small-scale and unlicensed. Tu warned that it is hard for clients to distinguish which products are hygienic simply by looking at them.

Two years ago, four food poisoning cases caused by moon cakes were detected in four days, resulting in the death of a mother and child in Ha Tinh province.

In HCM City, the Food Safety Management Board has also begun inspections of moon cakes, jam, candy and other items made for the Mid-Autumn Festival. 

The inspections, ordered by the HCM City Inter-sector Steering Committee on Food Safety, will last until September 30. 

Government agencies in the city will check for violations in advertising, product labels, certificates of origin, and processing at small- and medium-size food establishments, as well as at manufacturers and trading enterprises. 

Violators will be fined, according to Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the city’s Food Safety Management Board. 

Lan said that substandard products and those without clear origin would be banned for sale, and violators suspended.-VNA