July 19, 2019 04:15

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Obstacles should be removed around Decree 15 on food safety

19:53 | 10/04/2019

VCN- Decree 15/2018/ ND-CP guiding the Law on Food Safety is one of the documents on specialized management with the spirit of reform, changing the management method from pre-check to post control and risk management. However, the application of such innovative regulations still raises problems that make it difficult for the customs authorities to implement and require ministries and branches to unify measures.

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obstacles should be removed around decree 15 on food safety Many obstacles in the implementation of Decree 15
obstacles should be removed around decree 15 on food safety

Customs officers in Ho Chi Minh City inspect imported food. Photo: T.H.

Applying reduced test method

According to the provisions of Clause 1, Article 19 of Decree 15, in order to apply the reduced inspection method, organizations and individuals must have a lot of goods or items falling into one of the cases prescribed in Article 17 of Decree No. 15/2018/ ND-CP. Specifically: Having been certified as meeting the requirements of food safety where competent agencies and organizations of the countries which have signed international agreements recognize each other in the food safety inspection activities, where Vietnam is member; have the inspection results of the competent authority of the exporting country for goods lots and goods in accordance with the provisions of Vietnamese law; had 3 consecutive times within 12 months meeting the requirements of the standard inspection method; produced in establishments that apply one of the quality management systems GMP, HACCP, ISO, BRC, FSSC 22000 or equivalent.

According to the General Department of Customs, problems have arisen when applying the conditions to apply reduced inspection methods. Because the ministries have not yet sent a list of competent agencies and organizations that have signed international agreements to recognize each other in the food safety inspection activities that Vietnam is a member to serve as a basis for applying reduced inspection methods for businesses.

For the condition of 3 consecutive times within 12 months of the import requirement according to the normal inspection method, the Customs office has no basis to determine the shipment, the item is 3 times in a row within 12 months meet the requirements of the import method. Therefore, in the last time, the General Department of Customs has issued a number of documents to request ministries: Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, Industry and Trade to direct state inspection agencies to provide imported food to the General Department of Customs the list of goods products (with HS codes) and a list of organizations and individuals (with enterprise codes) that meet the conditions for applying reduced inspection methods to take into the thread management database. However, the General Department of Customs has only received 7 units (out of 46 food safety inspection state units designated by 3 ministries) to inform organizations and individuals that have products and goods that apply the reduced inspection method for Customs authorities.

Related conditions: Produced in establishments that apply one of the quality management systems GMP, HACCP, ISO, BRC, FSSC 22000 or equivalent, the General Department of Customs said, the Customs agency is not sufficient to determine a certified copy or a consular legalization original in GMP, HACCP, ISO, BRC, FSSC 22000 or equivalent for inclusion on a reduced checklist. The General Department of Customs has issued a written request for specific guidance on this issue, however, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that currently there are no documents regulating this issue so it is only possible to consider specifically the type of certificate presented with the imported registration dossier to assess and conclude. This makes it difficult for Customs authorities to do so.

Agree on exemption of "self-announcement of products" and exemption from state inspection

In case of exemption from "self-announcement of products" and exemption from state inspection of imported foods specified in Clause 2, Article 4 and Clause 7, Article 13 of Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP also raise problems.

According to Clause 2, Article 4, "production and import products and raw materials are only used for manufacturing, processing export goods or for internal production of organizations and individuals not consuming in the domestic market will be exempted from implementing self-proclamation procedures”.

Clause 7, Article 13 stipulates: "Products, materials for production and import are only used for production and processing of export goods or for the internal production of organizations and individuals not consuming in the domestic market” are subject to exemption from state inspection of food safety.

According to the General Department of Customs, with the above provisions when importing raw materials to produce products that such products are consumed in the domestic market, they are exempted from self-announcement of products, will be exempted from state inspection or not?

In fact, during the implementation of Decree No. 15/2018/ ND-CP, there has been a case where enterprises carry out procedures to import a large amount of raw materials to produce products for domestic consumption, which are exempted from self-declaration procedures and products; exemption from state inspection of food safety. Therefore, in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP, the General Department of Customs has issued a written request for 3 exchanges on this issue. However, there are two different points of view between the 3 sets. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issues its views: It is not allowed to exempt products from self-announcement, exemption from state inspection of food safety. Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health said that they are exempted from self-announcing products, exempted from state inspection of food safety. In the view of the General Department of Customs, imported materials to produce products that are exported, served for consumption within the enterprise, or consumed in the domestic market are exempted from self-announcement of products, exempt from state inspection of food safety. However, in order to implement, the General Department of Customs also proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to agree on this issue.

Besides, Customs authorities also have problems related to the state inspection of food safety for animals and aquatic animal products. Specifically, the application of sample number 11TS - Certificate of quarantine and hygiene of food, animal and aquatic animal products used for food and sample No. 10TS - Certificate of animal and animal quarantine Aquatic animal products.

Under the provisions of Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP, items of animals and products of terrestrial animals, aquatic animal products subject to state inspection of food safety are under the management responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

While according to Circular No. 15/2018/TT-BNNPTNT of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the items of animals and products of terrestrial animals and aquatic animal products must be quarantined. On that basis, the Customs agency based on the results recorded on quarantine certificate and hygiene and food safety of animal and aquatic animal products imported for food use according to the form No. 11TS issued together with the Information Circular 26/2016/ TT-BNNPTNT to solve customs clearance procedures.

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However, as stipulated in Circular 36/2018/ TT-BNTPTNT, the form No. 11TS - Certificate of quarantine and food safety and hygiene of animal and aquatic products imported for use as food has been replaced by form No. 10TS - Certificate of quarantine of imported aquatic animals and products; This sample 10TS does not contain certification of food hygiene and safety.

To ensure compliance with regulations, the General Department of Customs requests the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to soon guide the implementation of state inspection of food safety for imported animal and aquatic products. The General Department of Customs stated that the application of the Certificate of Quarantine and the state inspection of food safety according to the form No. 11TS issued together with Circular 26/2016/ TT-BNTPTNT is appropriate, essential response of Resolutions 19/ NQ-CP.

Pending the comments of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in order to solve difficulties for enterprises, the Customs agency will base on the announcement of quarantine results according to form No. 10TS to solve customs clearance for imported animal and aquatic product lots, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are responsible for food safety for cleared goods.

By Ngoc Linh/ HuuTuc