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Seafood product processing plant. (Photo: VASEP)

Vietnamese Govt. to consider VASEP request to smooth procedures

  (VIET NAM, 5/17/2017)

The Vietnamese government will likely ease the requirement for seafood enterprises to submit declarations of conformity with food safety regulations, accepting a proposal made by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The announcement was made at a conference where VASEP presented the proposal to the corresponding Government authorities, considering that it takes seafood firms 15 days to complete the required procedure, which is too long and costly, VNS reported.

The conference, held by the ministries of Health, Industry and Trade and the Natural Resources and Environment, VASEP and local seafood companies, was designed to solve issues rising from the implementation of an April 2012 decree on the Food Safety Law for food producers in Vietnam.

VASEP explained that if the time spent by Government agencies on checking documents, and inspecting and certifying the quality of seafood products is reduced to three working days, local firms can save cost, time and efforts.

The association also stressed that the requirement is not included in the Food Safety Law and so the firms should not have to comply with it.

For his part, Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong said VASEP’s request is reasonable as the Food Safety Law only requires seafood firms to declare whether their products meet the technical standards or not.

The Deputy Minister also pointed out that the ministry would try to amend the regulation within two or three months to meet the demand from VASEP and the seafood firms, as well as the Food Safety Law.

Responding to those requests, the deputy health minister said the ministry has used the level-four public service portal since late 2014 and all documents of seafood firms are now processed online, which is a big improvement for local companies.

However, he also stated that the ministry has only deployed the online service system in Hanoi and HCM City as there are still difficulties with the IT system in other provinces and areas.

Regarding the 15-day issue, Cuong said that the required period is appropriate as Government agencies need a lot of time to inspect, compare, cross-check and certify the documents and products while they have to make sure Vietnamese products match other markets’ regulations.

In the ASEAN region, Singapore and Malaysia are the two countries that need Vietnamese firms’ declarations of conformity with food safety and technical standards to post-check the products.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said that both Government and local producers should do their best to make their documents clear in order to reduce the time Government agencies need to review them.

In addition, he pointed out that local producers should hire a third-party company to complete checking and certification procedures to save costs, time and efforts as companies do not have a department that specialises in those activities.

 
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