Vietnam misses many opportunities to export farm produce because of food safety requirements set by import countries
Nguyen Huy from Bureau Veritas Vietnam, a quality management service provider, said a coffee exporter last May contacted the firm and asked for consultancy on FSMA (FDA Food Safety Modernization Act) after its export consignments were rejected by the US because the products could not satisfy FSMA’s requirements.
In mid-June, a business supplying goods to Walmart was asked by the partner to provide certificates in accordance with FSMA.
These are the latest warnings from countries which import Vietnam’s farm produce.
Vietnam is among the countries which have received warnings and have had products refused by the EU market.
Over one-third of warnings to 10 South East Asian countries were given to Vietnam.
In the pre-2015 period, Vietnam’s seafood products had problems with antibiotic residue, while it is now farm produce which receives warnings about product safety.
In the food sector alone, Vietnam received warnings in 92 cases in 2017 and has received 44 warnings so far this year from the EU.
More than 1,000 Vietnam businesses have been excluded from the list of businesses allowed to export products to the US because they had not kept up to date with FSMA regulations.
By December 2016, Vietnam had 1,845 food factories registered with FDA to export products to the US. However, the figure had dropped to 806 by January 2018.
Marieke Van Der Pijl from Eurocham said at a workshop on overcoming technical barriers to boost farm exports to the EU held recently that Vietnam’s products were rejected mostly because cold storage was interrupted during transportation, the packaging did not meet food safety requirements, and the antibiotics exceeded the permitted levels.
The greatest advantage of Vietnam’s export products lies in geographical indications. To date, nearly 40 products of Vietnam have got geographical indications. Experts said this is an effective tool that Vietnam can use to boost exports.
Therefore, the government of Vietnam needs to apply policies to encourage the expansion of the list of products with geographical indications.
According to Nguyen Kim Thanh, an expert of the project on Vietnam High-quality Product for Globalization integration, livestock is one of the industries with fierce competition in the context of integration.
Surveys have found that the increasingly high number of chicken imports have had big impact on domestic businesses and farmers. Vietnam now has a modern food safety management system, but still does not produce chicken that can meet international standards.
Huy from Bureau Veritas has advised Vietnam businesses to study information about the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) when exporting goods to the EU.