Vietnam short on food safety control budget
HCMC – A limited budget has rendered food safety control activities ineffective, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien in a report on execution of food safety policies and regulations in 2011-2016.
According to the Ministry of Health’s data from 2011 to 2016, more than 1,000 food poisoning cases were reported throughout the country, with 164 people killed. The risk of food poisoning is especially high at industrial zones and factory canteens.
In 2001-2005, the budget for food safety control in Vietnam equaled to one-25th of Thailand (VND780 per capita per year compared to US$1 (over VND22,000)). In 2011-2015, Vietnam’s budget for food safety control is VND2,800 per capita per year, well below VND100,000 in Beijing, China.
Food safety control funds allocated to the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2011-2016 totaled VND101 billion, representing 20% of the total approved for the national food safety program. Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development received VND192 billion in the same period and was allowed to retain another VND959 billion from other sources of revenue to finance food safety control activities. The total amount met 30% of what was needed.
Food safety in Vietnam is an increasingly big public issue as the abuse of forbidden substances, chemicals, antibiotics, preservatives and additives is prevalent in the food processing sector.