EU issues stern warning to Vietnam's veggie exporters

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This picture taken on September 29, 2014 shows a farmer watering a vegetable field in Khoai Chau District, in the northern province of Hung Yen. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP This picture taken on September 29, 2014 shows a farmer watering a vegetable field in Khoai Chau District, in the northern province of Hung Yen. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

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The European Union Consumer Protection Agency has warned Vietnam that it will ban certain vegetable imports if the country doesn't clean up its act.
Since February 1, European authorities have flagged three shipments of Vietnamese basil and bitter melon due to the presence of harmful bacteria, according to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers, better known as DG SANCO.
The European Market Department at Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade announced that it received the warning on Monday, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
DG SANCO set a limit of five safety violations within a single year before the EU stops accepting produce imports from Vietnam.
The agency said they have also found compliance problems with the wood used for packaging shipments to the EU, Tuoi Tre said.
Wood export packaging must be dried at high temperatures to eliminate insects and bacteria and bear a quarantine stamp, according to the International Plant Protection Convention 1951.
But Vietnam's wood packaging has failed to comply with those specifications.
The commission warned that an EU ban won't just hurt revenues from the European market but damage Vietnam’s international reputation.

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