food safety authorities have loosed ingredient requirements to allow select
foreign wine products into the country since 2006, according to a new
investigation by Tuoi Tre.
liquor laws require the amount of aldehyde to be under 20 milligrams per liter
for 100 percent-alcohol products. But the Department of Food Safety and Hygiene
at the Ministry of Health has allowed products containing dozens of times more
aldehyde to be imported into Vietnam.
last year, the department allowed Saigon Food Production and Commerce No.1 Joint
Stock Co. to import XO Leopold brandy, which is only 40 percent alchohal, by
raising the aldehyde amount cap to 300 mg/liter after Ho Chi Minh City Institute
of Public Health Hygiene refused to let the company import the product with the
announced aldehyde amount of 230.15 mg/liter.
department did the same to help the International Wine Joint Stock Company in
Binh Duong Province import Solera Reserva brandy. The product was measured by
the city institute as containing 286.81 mg of aldehyde per liter.
tried to import foreign liquor products with the amounts of toxins like
aldehyde, furfurol and methanol higher than the country's standards, but we
didn't allow them to," the Institute of Public Health Hygiene said in a note
sent to the Department of Food Safety and Hygiene in November last year.
institute said that the department then approved the products, despite the fact
that they did not meet Vietnames standards.
later even found the amounts higher than announced," said the institute, adding
that the Department of Food Safety and Hygiene then approved those new levels as
institute said such cases were common.
tests over foreign liquor no longer serve as a food-safety-and-hygiene barrier,"
it said in the note.
2006, the department allowed the Saigon company to import XO Leopold brandy that
the company announced contained 140-180mg/liter of aldehyde. But when the
product arrived in Vietnam, it turned out that the amount was more than that, so
the department raised the cap to 300mg/liter.
products were only 38-39 percent alcohol, the department has actually raised the
aldehyde amount cap for aforementioned products by nearly 40 times, from
2mg/liter allowed for liquor of 100 percent alcohol.
Tien, deputy head of the department, told Tuoi Tre last month Vietnam's
liquor standards cannot be applied to foreign brands because they were produced
differently from local booze.
the European Commission only set caps on methanol, not aldehyde.
a residual from liquor manufacture, in direct ratio to the alcohol amount, said
a health expert who requested anonymity.
dangerous to the brain and has been linked to mental problems and strange
behavior, he said.