Businesses supported with access to international food safety regulations

Monday, 2017-08-28 17:09:37
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Updating products with new international regulations on food safety could facilitate exports of Vietnamese products to the global market.
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NDO – An international forum on food safety opened in Ho Chi Minh City on August 28 to provide support for domestic enterprises in meeting food safety regulations in the international market.

The event was co-organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) and the Association of Vietnamese High-Quality Goods Enterprises, under the theme “Growing markets for Vietnamese products.”

Speaking at the forum, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien affirmed that Vietnam attaches significant importance to fine-tuning the regulations on the quality of goods as the issue directly impacts human health and consumers’ interests, as well as the sustainability of the economy.

With the State management role, the Ministry of Health has strived to create favourable conditions for associations, enterprises and production units to approach safety regulations and standards. The ministry also regularly reviews and adds mechanisms and policies to support exporters.

Tien said that her ministry wants to acquire feedback from international organisations, associations and businesses in order to adjust policies to meet the importers’ food demand through the forum.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung said that his ministry is providing support for manufacturers to develop products meeting international standards, in addition to serving as a bridge to facilitate their access to the State incentives.

The agro-fisheries and food sectors now employ nearly 46% of the total Vietnamese workforce and the fishery sector alone raked in US$7 billion from exports in 2016.

In accordance with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), the US Department of Agriculture will be responsible for inspecting catfish imports. Therefore, experts advised that Vietnamese exporters quickly grasp the new regulations to maintain farm produce exports to the US.

Vice Chairman of AmCham Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, Mark Gillin, said that in line with the FSMA, all plants that produce goods for export must extend registration every two years, starting from October 1 to December 31, 2016.

In December 2016, as many as 1,845 Vietnamese food plants registered for export to the US with FDA but, in January 2017, the figure dropped to 806 due to their lack of awareness of the new regulations.