Food enterprises get a legal boost
With a view to removing unnecessary administrative procedures and bettering the business environment for food producers and traders, the Government recently issued a new decree detailing a number of articles of the Food Safety Law.
Decree 15/2018/ND-CP, which came into on February 2 in replacement of Decree 38 of 2012, says food producers and traders may make product announcements by them or are only required to register product documentation, rather than having to going through time- and money-consuming procedures for regulation conformity announcement as prescribed by Decree 38.
However, there remain certain products for which enterprises must send quality reports to the Health Ministry or provincial-level Health Departments.
Specifically, health supplements and combined food additives with new usages must be registered with the Food Safety Department under the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, foods for under-36-month children may be registered with provincial-level Health Departments.
State management agencies will decide to conduct post-inspection, inspection or handling of violations based on announcements of enterprises.
With the above changes, according to the calculations made by the Central Institute for Economic Management, some 95 percent of food products now are not required to go through any administrative procedures. If these new regulations are strictly implemented, 1.8 million working days and over VND 600 billion will be saved.
Under previous regulations, in order to apply to a food safety and hygiene certificate, an enterprise must prepare two sets of documents each comprising 11 different types of papers, including product information sheet, circulation certificate, medical certificate, trademark certificate, regular supervision plan and trading certificate, and so on.
Le Quang Hau, owner of Quang Hau Spring Roll and Pork Pies Enterprise in Ho Chi Minh City, completing the procedures could cost VND 6-10 million, depending on each province or city. Meanwhile, Truong Chi Thien, director of Vinh Thanh Dat Food Joint Stock Company, said that to bring an egg to market, it took 15 days to complete procedures.
“The procedures are now abolished, helping enterprises escape a great burden,” Le Thi Thu, the owner of an food processing enterprise in Bien Hoa city of Dong Nai province, happily said with the Thanh Niên (The Youth) newspaper.
Another salient point of the new decree is new provisions on production and business conditions to ensure food safety and approach to global management methods.
The new decree additionally specifies types of enterprise that do not need certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions and production establishments exempt from such certificate.
Accordingly, small production establishments, preliminary processing establishments, restaurants and food stores may decide to announce and take responsibility for their own products without having to apply for certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions.
Under the new decree, the Ministries of Health; Industry and Trade; and Agriculture and Rural Development will be responsible for overseeing the safety of food items assigned to them for state management. In case the ingredients of a product fall under the oversight of more than one ministry, the ministry in charge of the manufacture thereof will have to take responsibility for the product safety. At the same time, the responsibility for the local food safety situation will be rested on provincial-level People’s Committees.
Commenting on Decree 15, Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, confirmed that it was considered a meaningful gift of the Government for the business community.
“The issuance of Decree 15 demonstrates the determination of the cabinet and perseverance of the business community, and should be taken as a lesson by other ministries and agencies in removing business conditions,” he said.-(VLLF)