25 October 2011
|To:||Ministry of Health|
|cc:||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|–||Ministry of Industry and Trade|
|–||Food Administration of Vietnam, Ministry of Health|
|–||Administrative Procedures Control Agency|
Re: Receipt of dossiers for food standard announcements
AmCham would like to extend our greetings and respectfully request your attention to the following matter.
As you are aware, the National Assembly passed the Food Safety Law No. 55/2010/QH12 on 17 June 2010. It became effective on 1 July 2011. Prior to that time, the Food Administration of Vietnam (“FAV”), under the Ministry of Health (“MOH”), was responsible for accepting all food standard announcement dossiers. Under the new Food Safety Law, State management of food safety has now been divided amongst three ministries: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (“MARD”), and Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”). The Government has not yet issued a decree to guide the implementation of the Law.
On 13 September 2011, the FAV posted a notice at its office stating that, effective 19 September 2011, the FAV shall be responsible for quality registrations of only certain food products, including food additives, food processing assistant agents, bottled water, natural mineral water, functional foods, and packaging materials for these products. For all other foods products, the FAV recommends that enterprises contact the MOIT and the MARD for guidance, in compliance with the Food Safety Law.
However, neither MARD nor MOIT have issued guidance on procedures to receive food quality registrations. They have not provided any information on product classifications, nor have they designated a department to receive the dossiers.
This new situation has caused serious challenges for enterprises in the food industry, as they can no longer register products in food categories other than products currently under MOH authority.
The inability of our member companies to submit dossiers to MARD and MOIT will delay their receipt of the required product standards certificates for those food products not included in the FAV’s list. Such delays will disrupt their normal business operations, which rely on timely movement of products into the market. Enterprises are now preparing new products to be launched on the market to serve the 2012 Tet holidays, and any delays now will impact their ability to bring new products to Vietnamese consumers. In addition, because Tet sales are crucial to the success of enterprises in the food industry, the delay will have an adverse impact on their growth rates.
To avoid delays in the manufacture and trading of food products, we respectfully request that the Ministry of Health continue to receive quality registration dossiers for all food products until the Government, the MARD and MOIT issue guidance on implementation of the Food Safety Law.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to receiving your favourable response.
/signed and sealed/
|Christopher C. Twomey||Hank Tomlinson|
|Chairman, AmCham Vietnam (HCMC)||Chairman, AmCham Vietnam (Hanoi)|