The Vietnamese government has suspended exports to the EU of some fruits and vegetables while it works to ensure import protocols can be met.
According to a report by Vietnam News, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers threatened an embargo on imports of 15 types of fruit and vegetables if five more violations of its import regulations were detected.
A similar ultimatum was issued last year to Thailand as a result of persistent findings of prohibited organisms in imported fresh produce. Thailand’s department of agriculture reacted by establishing a registered exporters list, which required compliance with stringent regulations including GlobalGAP and HACCP. As of November last year just seven companies had been accepted onto the list.
Nguyen Huu Huan, deputy head of Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department, told local media compliance failures amongst exporters were widespread and during a two-month period last year 50 of the 63 companies exporting to the EU had produce rejected by inspectors there owing to import protocol violations. "Therefore, the department has announced that 15 commodities which have a high likelihood of breaching the standards will be suspended from obtaining a license to be shipped to the EU," said Huan.
The announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has come as a shock to Vietnamese exporters.
"I was stunned to learn of the news that some of my vegetables are now banned from being exported," a Vietnamese citizen living in the Netherlands, who runs a large vegetable farm in Vietnam told Tuoitrenews.com. "What is most harmful is that customers will switch to buying from Thailand or Malaysia if supply from my farm is obstructed," she added.