Food hygiene and safety certification for supermarkets in Vietnam
Currently, supermarkets are considered as afield that brings great potential to the retail market in Vietnam. Therefore, the competent state agencies need to closely supervise and manage the activities of supermarkets. In particular, note on the Certificate of food hygiene and safety to ensure consumers’ health. In the article below, Viet An Law will guide the dossier and process of applying for a Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate for supermarkets.
Law on Food Safety 2010, amended and supplemented in 2018.
Decree 15/2018/ND-CP details a number of articles of the Law on Food Safety, amended and supplemented by Decree 155/2018/ND-CP and Decree Decree 85/2019/ND-CP.
Decree No. 119/2017/ND-CP on sanctioning administrative violations in the field of standards, measurement and quality of products and goods, amended and supplemented by Decree 126/2021/ND-CP.
Circular No. 43/2018/TT-BCT stipulating food safety management under the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, amended and supplemented by Circular No. 13/2020/TT-BCT.
Why issue a Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate to supermarkets in Vietnam?
Supermarkets must have a Food Safety Certificate because:
Comply with state regulations on ensuring food safety and hygiene. Pursuant to Decree 15/2018/ND-CP, if a food supermarket has come into operation without a food safety license, it will be sanctioned according to the provisions of law. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, enterprises may be administratively fined, cease production and business activities or more seriously, be examined for criminal liability if affecting consumers’ health.
Affirming product quality with consumers, thereby helping consumers feel secure when buying products and increasing advantages over other enterprises and production and business establishments in the same field but without a declaration.
Having a business license also makes it easy for supermarket products to legally circulate in the market. Therefore, supermarkets should soon carry out all procedures to be able to do business legally and soon create a brand in the market.
Conditions for issuance of the Certificate of Food Hygiene and Safety in Vietnam
An establishment shall be granted the Certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions when it fully meets the following conditions:
Satisfy conditions to ensure food safety suitable to each type of food production and trading as prescribed in Chapter IV of this Law;
Having registered food business lines in the Business Registration Certificate.
Cases of exemption from applying for food safety certificates for supermarkets in Vietnam
For business establishments trading only in pre-packaged food, they will not be eligible for the issuance of certificates of satisfaction of food safety conditions according to Article 12 of Decree 15/2018/ND-CP. However, these establishments must still comply with the prescribed food safety conditions. At the same time, a written commitment must be sent to the competent agencies managed by the Provincial People’s Committee on food safety in the locality according to Point b, Clause 2, Article 10, Chapter IV of the Food Business Sector, Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.
For businesses dealing in packaged foods and unpackaged products such as meat, fish, vegetables and original torn packaging items sold to shops such as rice and sweets, if the establishment is a business household, it is not required to apply for a certificate.
In addition, in case the supermarket has been granted one of the Certificates: GMP, HACCP, ISO 22000, IFS, BRC, FSSC 22000 or equivalent, there will be no need to apply for a Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate when trading food in Vietnam.
Components of application for a supermarket food safety license in Vietnam
The composition of a license application includes:
An application for a certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions.
Certificate of business registration (notarized copy).
An explanation of facilities, equipment and tools to ensure food safety conditions as prescribed by competent state management agencies.
Certificate of having been trained in food safety knowledge of the establishment owner and persons directly involved in food production and trading in accordance with regulations of the Minister of Specialized Management.
Certificates of health adequacy of establishment owners and persons directly involved in food production and trading shall be issued by district-level health establishments or higher.
Where to apply for a supermarket food safety permit?
Article 35 of the 2010 Law on Food Safety stipulates that 3 agencies competent to issue food safety certificates are currently the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Depending on each business activity, the agency issuing food hygiene and safety paper will be different, specifically:
Business conditions, regulations and policies at convenience stores, commercial centers, supermarkets, markets …;
Vegetable oils, processed milk, soft drinks, beer, wine, starchy processed products, flour and other foods as prescribed by the Government.
Ministry of Health
Food processing establishments and businesses:
Mixed foods with new uses, health protection food additives, food additives outside the list of additives allowed for use or not for use in food regulated by the Ministry of Health.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
For wholesale markets, agricultural product auctions;
For the initial production of agricultural, forestry, fishery, salt (including the entire process from cultivation to harvest).
Supermarket is a multidisciplinary business under the simultaneous management of 2-3 specialized ministries that will be managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade according to Clause 9, Article 36 of Decree 15/2018/ND-CP.
If the supermarket sells alcohol products with an alcohol content above 5.5 degrees, the store must apply for an additional alcohol retail license according to Article 4 of Decree 105/2017/ND-CP (amended and supplemented by Decree 17/2020/ND-CP) on alcohol trading. If the alcohol trading establishment has an alcohol content below 5.5 degrees, it shall register with the Economic Department or the Economic and Infrastructure Division of the district-level People’s Committee where the trader has its business establishment before conducting business activities.
Some related questions
The agency receiving the application for the Certificate of Food Hygiene and Safety?
Particularly for Ho Chi Minh City is the Food Safety Management Board of the province where the enterprise conducts production and business.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade or the Department of Industry and Trade of the provinces or propose the People’s Committee of the province or central city for assignment; decentralize to local authorities to issue certificates.
Time to apply for supermarket food safety certification
Time to process applications for food safety certificates at state agencies: 20-25 days from the date of valid application.
Time for appraisal team at the establishment: within 07 working days (counting from the date of submission of valid documents).
Validity period of the Certificate of satisfaction of food hygiene and safety conditions
The food safety certificate is valid for a period of 03 years. After issuing the permit, the authorities will conduct one more inspection. If the establishment violates regulations on production and business, the granted food safety and hygiene license will be revoked.
Before 06 months from the date of expiration of the Certificate of Food Hygiene and Safety, the supermarket must submit a dossier for re-issuance of the Certificate in case of continuing production and business.
Is it sanctioned to run a supermarket without a Food Safety Certificate?
According to the provisions of Point a, Clause 1, Article 18 of Decree 115/2018/ND-CP, a fine ranging from VND 30,000,000 to VND 40,000,000 shall be imposed for one of the acts of food production and trading without a Certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions.
Customers need advice on procedures for applying for a Food Safety Permit please contact Viet An Law Firm for the best support.