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Oct 14, 2021 / 06:10

Hanoi tightens food safety inspection amid Covid-19 pandemic

Hanoi will continue to enforce regulations on food safety in production establishments to ensure people's health and safety.

Amid the increasingly serious evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring food safety has been the priority of Hanoi’s agricultural sector, as many violations have been detected and strictly handled by the authorities.

According to a report from the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a large number of infringements by organizations and individuals have been uncovered and handled for breaking rules on farming.

Specifically, since early 2021, the Inspectorate of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has found 20 businesses infringing regulations of the 118 businesses inspected or 17%.

In April 2021, the department's Inspectorate and Hanoi police detected a case of injecting impurities into shrimp in Yen So Ward, Hoang Mai District. The violator was imposed a fine of VND60 million (US$2,635).

Moreover, the department's Inspectorate uncovered a violation of a regulation on the production and trading of chemicals to treat the aquaculture environment and fine the offender VND90 million (US$3,952).

Hanoi's authorities inspect food safety to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic at food production establishments. Photo: Thao Tran

The total fine has amounted to VND400 million (US$17,565) from the beginning of the year. Besides a stern warning, the municipal authorities have encouraged people to abide by the law. 

The violations in the field of food safety accounted for half of all the infractions. Accordingly, ten offenders were fined a total amount of nearly VND190 million (US$8,344). Their infractions were lack of valid certificate of food safety, trading goods of unknown origin, and non-compliance with hygiene rules when processing food such as not wearing facemasks and gloves.

Food safety management

The management of food safety in the agricultural sector is multi-disciplinary, the limited number of staff has to perform hugely complicated tasks. In many fields, there remain shortcomings such as a shortage of legal documents as a basis for post-inspection handling, or inadequate and inconsistent regulations.

Chief Inspector of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pham Khac Dien said that the department will continue to innovate methods of directing and operating inspection activities in the coming time.

Moreover, the department will continue to closely coordinate with the relevant city's departments in developing and implementing annual specialized inspection plans, avoiding overlaps and duplication of duties.

Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Ngoc Son told The Hanoi Times in an interview that evaluating the quality of staff on duty is very important.

The department will strengthen training to improve the capacity of the food safety management team at all levels, Son noted, adding that promoting the dissemination of the food safety law in the agricultural sector to all people would be the priority in the time ahead.

Son stressed that from now until the end of 2021, the situation of food safety is expected to be more and more complicated due to the increased demand for food during the holidays. Therefore, the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will continue to direct subordinate units to closely enforce regulations on food safety in production establishments to ensure people's health and safety.