Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scandal sparks inspections of bottled water, ice makers

Following is the article from Vietnam News Agency:


HCM CITY — The municipal Health Department and the HCM City Preventive Medicine Centre will inspect bottled-water plants and ice-making factories from now until the end of the month.

Health Department deputy director Le Truong Giang said health inspectors working with relevant agencies would examine water sources in 24 provinces to ensure an acceptable standard of bottled water.

The work would include the collection of samples for further tests.

Violators of health ministry regulations would be punished and offending factories closed if warranted, he said.

"Those who fail to meet the required standards and damage people's health will have their work immediately suspended."

Health department inspector Nguyen Minh Hong said inspections were made two or three times each year depending on the prevalence of complaints.

In Ha Noi, Health Department chief inspector Nguyen Viet Cuong said unannounced checks of production in the city's plants and factories would be made during summer.

"Samples of the Ha Noi Water Trading Company's Hapuwa and Sai Gon Pure Water Joint Stock Co's Sapuwa bottled water had undergone health and safety checks," he said.

Both had been granted a licence.

The chief inspector said 241 licensed plants and more than 20,000 agents would be checked during summer to avoid contaminated water in the city's markets.

Inspectors of the HCM City's Department of Health (DoH) have suspended the operations of two more bottled water factories for violating safety and hygiene standards.

The two companies are Ke Ba Co Ltd in Binh Tan District and Lien Phu Phat Co Ltd in District 8, according to inspector Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai.

The certificate of sanitary inspection and quality registration for Ke Ba, which produces bottled water with the brandname of E-Ba, had expired in 2007, Mai said.

Lien Phu Phat Co's quality registration certificate had also expired, and none of the inspected bottles had expiration dates.

Bottled water with the brand name of Aquaran was manufactured in an environment that did not ensure sanitary conditions, the city said.

Last week, the DoH suspended the operations of five other bottled water factories.

On March 3, the department recalled bottled water of three companies: Tam Dang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd in District 6, which produces Aquaphar; Tan Tan Duc Co Ltd in District 7, which makes Golf; and Thuan Huy Co Ltd in District 1, which manufactures Aguavida. — VNS


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