HA NOI — Licences to import raw seafood and food additives for processing seafood products for export have been suspended.
This is because the Law on Food Safety has not been implemented, according to Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters (VASEP).
Under the Law on Food Safety, which became effective on July 1, three ministries, Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Health manage raw materials and food additives.
However, until now, there has been no decree to guide implementation of the new law. Therefore, seafood processors have become confused about how to import raw material and food additives and who to deal with, said the association.
The Ministry of Health, which used to provide import licences for all raw material and additives used in processing seafood, said it could no longer give import licences for the same products as before.
VASEP said seafood processors urgently needed raw material and additives to complete export contracts for luxury and instant seafood products for holidays at the end of this year and the new year.
At present, the domestic market is facing a shortage of raw materials because farmers had not expanded the aquaculture industry following huge losses in previous years. Natural disasters have also played their part.
Dao Quoc Tuan, chairman and general director of Tu Hai Trade, Service and Production Company Ltd in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, said the company needed nine to 10 tonnes of seafood per day, but now was trying to manage on two to three tonnes.
VASEP said Con Dao Seafood and Import-Export Joint Stock Company had contacted seafood providers from the centre to the south, but it only managed to buy 75 per cent of its needs. The association said processors must also import additives to marinade some seafood products because certain sauces, wine and spices did not exist in Viet Nam.
The shortage of raw materials and additives has created difficulties for processors because they must complete export contracts on time. So, the association and processors have asked the Government to continue issuing licences until the arrival of decrees guiding implementation of the Law on Food Safety.
They also suggested only one ministry issue licences to import materials for the seafood processing industry. — VNS