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Food safety key to EU market

جمعه 22 اسفند 1393 ساعت 15:14

Workers process pineapples for export at Tien Giang Vegetables and Fruits Joint Stock Company in southern Tien Giang City. Improvement of quality and management systems will help Vietnamese fruit exporters get more competitive. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

Speaking at a workshop yesterday on the export of fruits and vegetable to the EU, Bieu said that the EU had tightened regulations on quality, posing a challenge to Vietnamese producers.

In early 2012, five types of produce, including basil, sweet pepper, celery, bitter gourd and coriander failed to meet the EU food hygiene and safety regulations. The EU subsequently announced they would halt the import of Vietnamese produce if five more batches of exports were found to be violating regulations.

In an effort to prevent a complete ban on Vietnamese vegetable and fruits, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development temporarily suspended issuing quarantine certificates in March 2012 to prevent other fruit being added to the EU’s blacklist.

Bieu noted that as of June 30 2013, local exporters could resume shipment of Vietnamese produce to the EU because the department had begun granting quarantine certificates.

To regain the confidence of EU consumers, Vietnamese processors and exporters needed to improve quality and environmental management systems, Bieu said.

He also urged Vietnamese enterprises to study changes in EU food safety standards so that they could tailor their processing work accordingly.

Nguyen Thi Tan Loc, from the Fruits and Vegetable Research Institute, said that organic products grown in a sustainable way and labelled as fair trade could enter EU market easily.

Viet Nam currently suffers from a shortage of arable farm land and few producers are applying Good Agriculture Practice standards, she said, adding that a shortage of market information was a disadvantage for Vietnamese enterprises.

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