The Hanoitimes - The Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it would check 100% of agro-product shipments to the European Union (EU) in the coming time.
The new move may be part of the draft circular on food safety inspection and plant quarantine of exports to EU that will go before the agriculture ministry soon. The official circular is set to be issued after May 15.
The department since early March has minimized the issuance of quarantine certificates to those enterprises involved in farm produce exports bound for the European market. Now the more stringent rule is to come out to cope with EU’s tough penalty insisting on banning agro-product imports from Vietnam if two more cases violating its food safety regulation are detected.
Most local shipments found violating the EU food safety standards are aromatic herbs and star fruits infected with pests. The importers, meanwhile, reject Vietnam ’s solution to treat such products with chemicals, said deputy head Bui Si Doanh of the department.
The problem is that Vietnam cannot set up non-disease areas to plant farm produce for the EU market as requested, Doanh noted. Therefore, the most optimal solution for the nation is to apply a 100% check on shipments and prioritize farming areas meeting the VietGap and GlobalGap standards, he added.
Speaking to the Daily, Nguyen Minh Chau, director of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, pointed out what EU nations were concerned about Vietnamese products are plant protection drug residues.
“It is necessary for the country to check 100% of fruits and vegetables to EU at present but it should adopt a sustainable solution in the long run,” Chau stressed.
According to the Vietnam Fruit Association (Vinafruit), the nation in the first four months of the year fetched US$150 million from shipping agro-products abroad, equivalent to the same period last year.
Due to difficulties in farm product exports, An Giang Fruit-Vegetables and Foodstuff JSC (Antesco) has shifted to exporting processed products, said the firm’s director Huynh Quang Dau.