July 18, 2011


Food safety law causes bottleneck in South Vietnam ports



Hundreds of containers of agricultural products, foodstuffs, and animal feed are stuck in ports in South Vietnam, a bottleneck caused by the country's new Law on Food Safety and Hygiene.


Under the new law, which went into effect July 1, goods of plant origin imported into Vietnam must be produced by nations that meet Vietnam's requirements for food safety and appropriate packaging, as well as labelled with a certified mark in Vietnamese.


Nearly 300 containers of cashew nuts imported into Vietnam have been stuck in ports in Ho Chi Minh City since the beginning of the month, according to a representative of Vietnam Cashew Association, as well as "many containers" of animal feed.


However, imports are flowing smoothly through the northern ports in Lao Cai, Tan Thanh, and Mong Cai, due to a far lower volume of imports compared to the south.


According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, only five countries so far are permitted to export to Vietnam, down from the 20 before the law came into effect.


Nguyen Nhu Tiep, head of the Department of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance, said Vietnamese export goods also have to comply with strict regulations imposed by importing countries, and thus Vietnam is justified in checking the origin of plant commodities imported from other countries.

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