Monday, October 17, 2016

Fish sauce arsenic tops limit

The Việt Nam Standards and Consumers Association (Vinatas), a non-profit organisation, yesterday announced the results of a test it did of fish sauce in 10 cities and provinces.

Of 150 samples tested, 101 had arsenic content exceeding the permitted limit of 1mg per litre. Some had as much as 5mg.
Most of the samples with high arsenic also had another thing in common — protein content of above 40 per cent. But Vinatas did not say if there was any connection between the two.
Almost all 150 samples belonged to 88 brands based in 19 cities and provinces, and were obtained from distribution agents, supermarkets, commercial centres, retail markets and specialty stores.
One was a Thai product.
Although the study was not done on a national scale, it can provide preliminary results for State management agencies on market supervision, Vũ Văn Diện, deputy chairman of Vinatas, said.
Việt Nam consumes more than 200 million litres of fish sauce worth VNĐ7.2-7.5 trillion (US$322.8-336.3 million) every year, according to the General Statistics Office.
Industrial fish sauce accounts for 76 per cent of the market, according to Euromonitor data.
Crackdown on fish-, dipping-sauces producers
The HCM City Department of Health last week inspected 25 fish-sauce and dipping-sauce processing and trading establishments and found 19 of them flouting food safety and hygiene regulations.
They were fined a total of VNĐ180 million ($8,000) while five had their operations suspended, Bùi Minh Trạng, chief inspector of the department, said.
The inspectors also destroyed more than 1,300 kilogrammes of soy sauce and 225kg of mắm nêm (fermented anchovy dipping sauce), Trạng said.
Nearly 1,500 litres of sub-standard fish sauce were seized.
Most of the violations were related to food safety and quality (33 per cent), labelling (31 per cent) and hygiene standards in processing, storage and washing of containers (20 per cent).
Thirty samples of soy sauces, fish sauces and fermented anchovy dipping sauces were taken from 25 facilities for testing, of which 18 failed to meet physico-chemical requirements and three, micro-biological requirements.
The inspections were carried out in co-operation with the market watchdog. Read more at VNS


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