Vietnam hands down first conviction for food safety violation

By Hai Duyen   November 1, 2019 | 05:26 pm PT
Vietnam hands down first conviction for food safety violation
Bui Van Sang stands trial in Ho Chi Minh City for violating food safety regulations, November 1, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen.
A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a man to prison for violating food safety regulations Friday, which was the first conviction ever made against the crime in Vietnam.

Bui Van Sang, who ran a facility that processed agriculture produce in Thu Duc District, was found to have bleached tons of vegetables every day with chemicals bought from unregistered suppliers to keep them fresh.

Tests on his products showed high levels of sodium dithionite and sodium sulfate, which are banned from food production in Vietnam due to their possible adverse impacts on the digestive system.

Sang was sentenced to one and a half year in jail for committing the act between January 2017 and April 2018.

It was the first time that a food safety violation was given criminal punishment in Vietnam, despite it being a top concern among the public.

In a survey on more than 300 people in Hanoi and HCMC by market research firm Indochina Research this year, 86 percent of respondents identified food safety as their biggest concern.

Vietnam reported 84 cases of food poisoning last year, which affeted 3,174 people and killed 11, according to the General Statistics Office.

58 cases of food poisoning have occurred in the country this year, affecting 1,668 people and killing nine.

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