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Vietnam official says rule on beer temperatures is for drinkers’ sake

Wednesday, October 08, 2014, 12:09 GMT+7
Vietnam official says rule on beer temperatures is for drinkers’ sake
Foreigners drink beer on a sidewalk in Ho Chi Minh City.

The suggestion that places serving beer should not be hotter than 30 degrees Celsius is only meant to protect the health of drinkers, an official from the body behind the proposition said Tuesday, after it ignited a storm of criticism.

The Science and Technology Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has suggested in a draft decree on beer safety that the alcoholic product should not be served where the temperature is higher than 30oC.

“The regulation is based on the standards to protect human health in the labor law,” Nguyen Phu Cuong, deputy head of the Science and Technology Department, said.

“So our purpose is to protect consumers.”

The proposed fiat, intended to ensure food safety where beer is produced and sold, stipulates that beer vending locations must be equipped with ventilation or air-conditioning systems to make sure that the temperature is not higher than 30oC.

However, drinking in open spaces such as on the sidewalk or in beer gardens is preferred by beer lovers in Vietnam.

Ensuring temperatures of under 30oC thus seems a tough challenge for such businesses.

But Cuong said it is the duty of beer vendors to meet what he said are the “basic conditions” to run their business.

“We cannot drink beer under the sun. The draft decree is also meant to increase the responsibility of businesses that serve beer in protecting their drinkers’ health,” he added.

The draft decree also set out detailed rules on how beer should be stored.

Specifically, beer must be stored in a position that is at least 15cm away from the floor, while the respective proximities between it and the wall and ceiling are 30cm and 50cm, according to the draft legal document.

Businesses that serve bia hoi (fresh beer) must have specific equipment to keep the beer cold all day, the ministry said.

Vietnamese beer drinkers have mocked the legal document as being drafted by officials who always work, and drink beer, in air-conditioned places.

Others say the officials “have so much free time” to prepare such regulations.

“We have yet another infeasible proposition that could hardly be put into effect,” a reader named Ngo Le Hoa commented on Tuoi Tre (Youth) Online.

“Who would be able to check the temperature at all of the beer serving places in this country?”

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