During the Food Safety Action Month 2023, from April 15 to May 15, four teams of Hanoi inspectors have strengthened supervision over food security and safety and strictly dealt with organizations, individuals, and enterprises that violate food safety regulations.
To reduce food poisoning, a communication campaign has also been launched to spread information about food safety regulations in production and trade.
According to Dang Thanh Phong, head of the Hanoi Food Sub-Department, four interdisciplinary teams inspected 32 food service and production facilities during the month-long food safety campaign. As a result, half of them passed, six failed to submit documents, and the rest had some violations.
At the same time, functional forces have tested more than 840 samples and approved 803 (representing 95% of the total). "Sampling and inspection focus on product groups and production stages with high food safety risks," Phong said.
"Thanks to drastic inspection and supervision, food service establishments have undergone a business transformation and become more responsible to the community," he said.
Most recently, on May 9 and 10, the interdisciplinary inspection team, including market management and Hanoi Police, confiscated more than one ton of frozen food of unknown origin in Bac Tu Liem District, which the owners could not declare their products safe and hygienic.
Pham Khac Dien, the chief inspector of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in an interview with The Hanoi Times that the department has asked the production and business facilities with the failed samples to trace the origin and determine the causes to address them.
In addition, strengthening post-inspection sanctions for agricultural products and food has been identified by Hanoi authorities as an important measure to combat food safety violations, Dien added.
In the past, the agency has asked localities to strengthen the inspection and sampling of food in restaurants and strictly handle cases of trade in goods of unknown origin, violating food safety regulations.
Unlicensed dietary supplements were seized at a store on Hanoi's Pham Hung Street. Photo: Chien Cong/ The Hanoi Times
District authorities are urged to send inspection teams to local food outlets and canteens and strictly punish violations, Dien stressed.
He suggested that departments, district, commune, and ward People's Committees continue to closely coordinate with relevant city departments in developing and implementing annual specialized inspection plans, avoiding overlapping and duplication of tasks.
Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Ngoc Son said that the inspection results during the Food Safety Action Month 2023 have shown that Hanoi's restaurants have a good sense of complying with the standards prescribed by law.
"However, many companies still have violated food safety regulations. Cross-border food smuggling, false advertising of dietary supplements, and abuse of pesticides are still rampant. Food safety in industrial parks and schools has not been ensured," Son told The Hanoi Times.
According to a report from the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a large number of offenses by organizations and individuals were detected and dealt with during the month-long campaign.
The total fine amounted to VND190 million (over US$8,300). The violations included lack of a valid food safety certificate, trading in goods of unknown origin, and failure to follow hygiene rules in food processing, such as not wearing face masks and gloves.
"Apart from a stern warning, we have encouraged people to abide by the law. With the theme 'Ensuring Food Safety and Security in the New Situation', this year's Food Safety Action Month has achieved the goal of raising the awareness and responsibility of all people in food safety," the deputy director said.
"The Action Month has also highlighted the roles of organizations, individuals and enterprises in complying with the Food Safety Law. In addition, it has provided updated information on safe and quality food supply chains, violating establishments and potential risks of food insecurity and unsafety around the capital," he added.
"Consumers must also help solve the problem by detecting and reporting violations to the authorities to protect their legitimate interests and stop wrongdoing," Son said.