Tuesday, 12/20/2011, 13:8 GMT+7

‘Dirty’ meat flooding vietnamese dinner tables

Vietnam is becoming a ‘warehouse’ for poor quality frozen food shipped from other countries, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Substandard meat from overseas has flooded Vietnam, in large part due to poor management of import food control authorities, a Thursday meeting was told.

The global economic downturn has resulted in a huge amount of unsold meat and by-products, being imported into Vietnam at very low prices, said the Husbandry Department Deputy Chief Nguyen Thanh Son.

Loosened import management has allowed thousands of tons of unidentified, wrongly labeled, or expired and contaminated meat to enter the country, Son said.

According to the Animal Health Department, imports of frozen meat in 2008 increased to 119,130 tons from 44,178 tons a year earlier. Following on from that trend, the first half of this year alone saw 57,206 tons imported into Vietnam.

The department’s deputy chief, Mai Van Hiep, said many import businesses have taken advantage of a regulation that imported meat can be declared at customs offices first and checked later on. The regulation allows “dirty” meat to be sold before being given food safety licenses, he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it will ask the Prime Minister to tighten import regulations of frozen food, including origin and quarantine certificates from overseas exporters.

As for domestic importers, regular inspections to warehouses will be made once every two to three months, according to the ministry.

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