Inter-disciplinary inspectors take food samples for test at a restaurant. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked ministries to review legal documents on food safety and clarify prohibitions and impose tougher sanctions for violations.

The PM assigned tasks to several ministries for the implementation of the National Assembly’s resolution on intensifying the enforcement of food safety regulations.

He requested the Ministry of Health to take a leading role while working with the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade to review legal documents on food safety and propose amendments to the regulations to make prohibitions clear and impose stricter sanctions for violations.

The move also aims to avoid overlaps in state management of food safety matters among several ministries and strengthen food safety-related law enforcement as Vietnam plans to issue main technical food safety standards in line with international standards by the end of 2020.

Additionally, the three ministries must propose a model for state management of food safety, develop a system to provide information and receive reports from people on food safety issues and take measures to cut the number of mass food poisoning cases and the rate of unsafe food samples.

The Ministry of Home Affairs was asked to clarify tasks for each agency of the administrative apparatus for food safety management to improve their effectiveness.

The Ministry of Finance will allocate funding for food safety management and provide instructions for ministries, agencies and localities in use of fine revenues from breaches of food safety regulations to reward individuals and organisations who play a significant role in ensuring food safety.

The Ministry of Public Security was asked to strictly handle serious food safety violations.

In 2017, inter-disciplinary inspectors visited more than 625,000 food places nationwide, finding violations at nearly 124,000. Of the violators, more than 35,700 had to pay fines exceeding a total of 61 billion VND (2.7 million USD), according to the National Steering Committee on Food Safety.

The country recorded 139 cases of food poisoning in 2017 with 3,869 people affected, down 27 cases, and 24 people died.-VNA