A proposal to confiscate and destroy vegetables carried from Europe in travellers' luggage was submitted to the Prime Minister by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in an official letter on Thursday.
HA NOI —
The ministry asked the Prime Minister to request relevant State agencies, including the General Department of Viet Nam Customs and the Ministry of Health, to take drastic measures to control the spread of E coli found in vegetables from the EU.
The suggested measures include confiscating and disposing of vegetables carried in luggage, and detecting and isolating travellers who show symptoms of an E coli infection.
According to the ministry, the dangerous bacteria, which claimed the lives of 43 persons in Europe, including 42 in Germany (CBC News, June 23), can be transmitted via three sources: vegetables imported from the EU, especially from Germany, vegetables transported in luggage and infected tourists travelling from Europe.
According to the Plant Management Agency under the Plant Protection Department, Viet Nam imported some 20,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables from EU countries in the past three months, primarily potatoes, frozen strawberries and beans.
To prevent the risk of an E coli outbreak in Viet Nam, samples of the imported produce will be taken and examined by MARD analysts.
Results of the examinations were expected by mid-July, said the ministry.
So far, no cases of deadly E coli have been reported in Viet Nam. — VNS