Thursday ,Jun 11,2009, Posted at: 14:56(GMT+7)


Vietnam: Lawmakers call for food hygiene laws

Source of Article:

National Assembly deputies agreed that the early introduction of a Law on Food Hygiene and Safety would usher in a major improvement in food hygiene standards from production to the consumption stages.

At a discussion in the House on June 10, Dang Vu Minh, chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, reported that unsafe food could cause 400 types of diseases, including diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and bird flu.

Dao Xuan Nay of Lam Dong Province said unsafe food affects not only peopleís health but also the economy and the nationís prestige internationally.

A Ministry of Health report says there were 906 outbreaks of food poisoning around the nation between 2004 and 2008, resulting in 267 deaths and 5,769 people falling ill.

On average, 53 people die every year of food poisoning from 181 outbreaks, it added.

Most lawmakers agreed that food safety is among peopleís biggest concerns now and said it is necessary to enact a law to replace the Ordinance on Food Hygiene and Safety.

Many members blamed the Government for not resolving the issue earlier despite its urgent nature.

Mr. Nay urged the Government to allocate more funds for food safety and hygiene, increasing per capita outlay from VND1,100 to VND9,000

It may be a big burden, but it has to be done for the sake of community health, he said.

Le Thi Nguyet of Vinh Phuc said the law should focus on Government oversight, the responsibilities of food processing and trading companies, and penalties for those flouting food-handling rules.

Some delegates spoke of the need to test imported foods, improve testing laboratories, and strengthen human resources.

Nguyen Thanh Thuy of Binh Dinh Province called for quickly modifying the ordinance on penalties and closely control import activities.

She underlined the importance of strengthening education on hygiene laws, especially on the ethics of food trading and production.

She stressed the need for regulating food advertising in the media.

Deputies pointed out that implementation of existing food hygiene and safety rules is tardy due to a lack of coordination between the Government and local authorities.

Closing the discussion, Minister of Health Nguyen Quoc Trieu said food hygiene should become a key national concern.

NA Deputy Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien said a resolution on food safety and hygiene would be issued for adoption by the House by the end of the current session.


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