From now until the end of this year’s second quarter, competent authorities will deter all illegal imports of agricultural material, including antibiotics, pesticide, fertilizer, and other prohibited substances, Tam said during a conference on food safety on Wednesday.

Authorized units will first focus on dealing with the excessive use of sabultamol, a lean-meat agent that causes animals to gain weight in a short time but is detrimental to human health, in husbandry, as well as Vat Yellow, a cancer-causing substance used in paints and dyes, in food processing, the deputy minister continued.

Inspections will also be carried out more frequently without advance notice at breeding farms and food processing facilities across the country, he said, adding that those animals and products found containing the forbidden agents would be disposed of.

Individuals and organizations responsible for the violations in food safety will be severely punished as per regulations under the Penal Code, which will take effect on July 1.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will cooperate with localities in Vietnam to introduce consumers to trustworthy certified products and food processors, Tam added.

Recent food safety offenses in Vietnam

Food inspectors proposed on Wednesday that the People’s Committee in Hoc Mon District, Ho Chi Minh City, impose a VND8.5 million (US$381) fine on Huynh Kim Lien for her violations in the sale of animal products.

Local inspectors had discovered over four metric tons of pork and other swine parts decomposing at Lien’s business facility.

She also failed to present any license, permit, or food safety certificate.

That same day, an official in the central province of Quang Tri affirmed that five out of seven types of bamboo shoots as food in several major markets in the locale tested positive for Vat Yellow.

Authorities have ordered merchants at all markets in the locality not to trade such kind of products.

Also on Wednesday, environmental police in the north-central province of Nghe An confiscated over five metric tons of processed bamboo shoots at Duong Van Loi’s residence.

The products were contained in several barrels, of which one was infested with maggots, according to officers.

Tuoi Tre news - April 17, 2016