[health-vn] City inspectors struggle to control bottled water firms
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Fri May 8 03:02:05 EST 2009
City inspectors struggle to control bottled water firms
21:13' 07/05/2009 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – The explosion in the number of bottled water companies in
recent years in HCM City has led to a market that has become nearly
unmanageable, according to officials form the Ministry of Health.
Food safety and hygiene inspectors check water quality and hygiene at SAPUWA
bottled water company.
Currently more than 1,000 bottled water businesses, which produce a total of 400
brand names, are operating in the city.
Lam Quoc Hung of the Viet Nam Food Administration said most companies were small
– and medium-sized producers that do not meet quality standards.
In April, inspectors discovered that 150 out of 538 producers nationwide failed
to meet production standards, and were often unsanitary.
Most employees of the companies had not been trained in food safety and hygiene.
Forty-four of 177 samples were found to violate pH standards, a measure of the
acidity of a solution, or were tainted with disease-causing bacteria, such as
pseudomonas aeruginosa and coliform.
Yesterday HCM City inspectors announced another five samples that failed to meet
microorganism and pH standards.
Of them, four samples violated pH standards, including M-Kitech 20-litre bottled
water manufactured on April 16 by the Minh Kiem Production Commercial Service Co
Ltd in Phu Nhuan District’s Ward 4 and Go Vap District’s Ward 15.
Also contaminated was 20-litre bottled water sold under the brand name of
M-Kitech made on April 20 by Minh Kiem Production Commercial Service Co Ltd in
Go Vap District’s Ward 7 and Ward 5.
The WATIDA 20.5-litre bottled water, sold without a production date, was also
found to be substandard. It was produced by Hoa TI DA Construction Co Ltd in
District 12’s Dong Hung Thuan Ward.
Ho Tat Thang, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Standard and Consumer Association
(Vinastas), said that all bottled water companies must receive food safety and
hygiene certificates from the city.
But many plants with certificates do not follow city regulations.
"Most plants use drilled wells with untreated water and many producers ignore
the bottle-washing process," he said.
Hung said the heath sector had not yet organised an interdepartmental inspection
network and that more staff and equipment were needed for inspections.
According to Thang, the Government should offer specific regulations on
management of food safety and hygiene, especially those on product advertisements.
He said fines for violators were still too low, from VND10 million ($561) to 15
million ($842) only.
"The fine is too small compared to the profits they earn," he said
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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