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Vietnam Ministry of Health Authority to grant a Food Safety Certificate

The Ministry of Health is one of three agencies competent to grant Food Safety Certificates. Depending on the industry in which the owner of the food production and business institution registers, issuing a Certificate of an institution meeting food safety conditions belongs to the field assigned to the management of the Ministry of Health. Therefore, enterprises need to clearly understand the Ministry of Health’s authority to grant Food Safety Certificates so that the process of being granted a Certificate can be faster and more convenient.

Food hygiene and safety certification for supermarkets in Vietnam

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    Legal basis

    • The Law on Food Safety 2010, as amended and supplemented in 2018;
    • Decree 15/2018/ND-CP, as amended and supplemented by Decree No. 155/2018/ND-CP detailing several articles of the Law on Food Safety.

    Vietnam Ministry of Health Authority to grant a Food Safety Certificate

    In Article 35 of the Law on Food Safety, there are 3 agencies with authority to grant and revoke Food Safety Certificates, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Each agency will grant and revoke Food Safety Certificates within its management scope.

    For the Ministry of Health, specialized agencies within the Ministry’s structure perform the function of granting licenses, including:

    • The Food Safety Authority: Provides certificates for business institutions in the fields of functional foods, food processing aids, food containers,…
    • Sub-department of Food Safety: Has the authority to support, manage and grant licenses for bottled water business institutions, small institutions producing functional foods, and food and beverage services such as cafes, collective kitchen, hotel restaurant,…

    Subjects under the Vietnam Ministry of Health authority to grant a Food Safety Certificate

    Production, preliminary processing, processing, preservation, transportation, export, import, and business institutions for:

    • Food additives: supportive food additives with new uses, food additives that are not on the list of permitted additives or are not intended for use in food as prescribed by the Ministry of Health;
    • Food processing aid;
    • Bottled water;
    • Natural mineral water;
    • Functional foods, health protection foods, and other foods according to Government regulations

    List of products/product groups; Goods fall under the management authority of the Vietnam Ministry of Health

    Order Name of products/ product groups Note
    1 Bottled drinking water, natural mineral water, food ice (instant ice and ice used for food processing) Except for ice used to preserve and process products in the sector assigned to the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
    2 Functional foods
    3 Micronutrients added to foods and foods
    4 Additives, flavorings, food processing aids
    5 Tools and materials for packaging and containing food Except for tools and food packaging materials under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade that are produced in the same institution and are only used for food products of this institution.
    6 Other products are not regulated in the lists of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

    Process and procedures for granting a Certificate of Food Safety eligibility of the Vietnam Ministry of Health

    Step 1: Submit the dossier for granting a Certificate of food safety eligibility

    The resolving agency:

    • The Food Safety Authority issues Certificates to institutions that produce and trade functional foods, foods fortified with micronutrients, food additives, and food processing aids, except for institutions that produce and do business with the small scale; other food production and business institutions when there is a special need (requirements of the country importing institution’s products).
    • Sub-department of Food Safety of provinces and centrally run cities issue Certificates for:
      • Institutions producing and trading natural mineral water, bottled drinking water, packaging, and tools in direct approach with food under the management scale of the health sector in the area;
      • Small institutions producing functional foods, foods fortified with micronutrients, food additives, and food processing aids;
      • Small institutions business functional foods, foods fortified with micronutrients, food additives, and food processing aids with special product preservation requirements.

    Types of documents that enterprises need to prepare based on regulations on food safety in the Law on Food Safety and Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP (amended and supplemented from time to time) include:

    • An application for issuance of a Certificate of food safety eligibility;
    • An Enterprise Registration Certificate, Business Registration (if any);
    • An explanation of facilities, equipment, and tools to ensure food safety eligibility, including:
      • Floor map drawings of production and business institutions and surrounding areas.
      • A description of the processing process (technological process) for a product group or each specific product.
    • A commitment to ensure the food safety for food ingredients and food produced and traded by the institution;
    • List of employees enclosed with the date of training and checking health;
    • A health eligibility certificate of the institution owner and the person directly producing and trading food;
    • A certificate of training in the food safety knowledge of the institution owner and the person directly trading and producing food;
    • A HACCP Certificate (if any).

    Step 2: Appraising the dossier and the institution

    Appraising the dossier:

    • Starting from 5 working days from receiving the complete dossier, the dossier receiving agency must appraise the validity of the dossier and notify the institution in writing if the dossier is invalid and clearly state the reason;
    • More than 60 days from the date of receiving of notice of invalid dossier, if the institution does not respond or supplement or complete the dossier as requested, the receiving agency will cancel the dossier.

    Appraising the institution:

    • After appraising the dossier, the issuing agency will appraise the institution within 10 days. The appraisal team has several 5 to 9 people, of which 2/3 must be officials with expertise in food safety; particularly for small production and business institutions, the number of an appraisal team is reduced to just 3 to 5 people.
    • Content of appraising the institution: Compare information and appraise the legality of the dossier for granting a Food Safety Certificate with the original dossier kept at the institution according to regulations, appraise food safety conditions at the institution according to regulations and recorded in the record form.

    Step 3: Enterprises receive results

    Penalties for granting licenses without proper authority

    In case of abusing one’s positions and powers to violate the provisions of the Law on Food Safety or other relevant legal regulations, depending on the nature and severity of the violation, they will be disciplined or prosecuted the criminal liability, if causing damage, compensation must be performed according to the provisions of law.

    Note: A Food Safety Certificate is valid for 3 years.

    Clients who need consulting on services of grant Food Safety Certificates, please contact Viet An Law Firm for the best support.

    Disclaimer: This article was last updated in Sep 2023. Laws may have changed since then. Please contact Viet An Law to confirm the information in this article is current and for any legal assistance.

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