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EU recalls, warns against Vietnamese agro-fishery products for food safety violations

EU recalls, warns against Vietnamese agro-fishery products for food safety violations

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 15:40 GMT+7
EU recalls, warns against Vietnamese agro-fishery products for food safety violations
A pack of the fragrant rice ST25 product is pictured at a grocery store in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The European Union (EU) either recalled or issued a warning against five Vietnamese agricultural and fishery products in violation of food safety and hygiene regulations between October 6 and 12. 

The Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification Authority and Enquiry Point (SPS Vietnam) said that it had received two official dispatches from the Ministry of Industry and Trade reporting that Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic products exported to Europe contain agrochemical residues exceeding EU regulations.

The first dispatch on October 6 informed the recall of a batch of fragrant rice ST25 in Belgium.

Vinamex Group, the exporter of the product, checked the quality of the rice batch in question by themselves in consultation with the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) after delivering it to customers.

Test results showed that the residue level of tricyclazole, a fungicide, in the product was 0.017 milligrams per kilogram, higher than the maximum residue level (MRL) of 0.01 milligram per kilogram allowed by the EU.

An earlier test conducted by Vinamex Group in Vietnam had shown that the product had met all EU pesticide residue requirements.

Vinamex Group then actively posted a recall notice, asking customers not to consume products from the batch and return them to the firm’s warehouse for a refund.

Its fragrant rice ST25 product has yet to be listed on the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, which issued a total of 386 warnings against consignments imported to or circulating on the EU market in violation of food safety regulations in September.

The second dispatch issued by the Vietnamese ministry on October 12 gave warnings about residues of harmful substances in four other agricultural and aquatic products of Vietnam exported to the EU market.

The first product was bitter melon exported by SAKA SAKA Co. Ltd, in which the Dutch health authority detected chlorpyrifos ethyl, a pesticide used in crops, animals, and buildings, while their Spanish counterpart found profenofos, a banned substance.

Italian health authorities detected undeclared sulphites, which are used as food preservatives that can trigger asthma and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, in an export shipment of crustaceans and seafood of Minh Chau Import-Export Seafood Processing Co. Ltd.

Norwegian and French health administrations discovered nitrofurans, or furazolidone, a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used by humans and animals to fight bacterial infections, in frozen frog thighs and propargite and fenobucarb in pomelos imported from Vietnam.

Active ingredients nitrofurans, including furazolidone, are banned substances with MRLs of zero, according to EU regulations.

Propargite is an insecticide used to control mites on a variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops, as well as ornamentals while fenobucarb is an insecticide commonly used to kill brown planthoppers, leaf curlers, and stem borers.

Because the risk level is assessed as serious, the product has been recalled from the market in France, whereas the method of product destruction has been applied in Switzerland.

Norway also recalled the pomelo products on the market.

Spain's Ministry of Health and relevant authorities at EU border gates have all been informed of the recall and warnings and expect to beef up quarantine measures for the related lines of goods imported from Vietnam, according to the announcement of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The SPS Vietnam suggested that Vietnamese businesses should pay attention to strict compliance with the regulations of the import markets to avoid similar problems and protect their reputation.

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