Vietnamese minister tells fruit, vegetable exporters to improve or perish

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Vietnam's agriculture minister has called for improving quality control of fruits and vegetables exported to Europe after the EU warned of a possible import ban due to poor quality.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat Tuesday told local authorities and customs that the EU had complained about several consignments containing microorganisms and dangerous pathogens, Tien Phong newspaper said Thursday.

The European Commission's Directorate General for Health & Consumers has warned that a ban on Vietnamese fruits and vegetables would take effect if five more violations of food safety and plant quarantine regulations were detected after January 15.

Phat said the ministry would help draft regulations for export of fruits and vegetables to the EU.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese seafood products have also caused concern among importers after consignments were found with chemical residues, fungi, and bacteria.

Russian experts are set to visit the country in April or May to appraise the production process to decide if a ban should be slapped.

Similar visits will be made by US, EU, and South Korean officials this year.

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