The national price management agency said it will tighten regulations further to control prices of milk products in the country, noting that some dairy firms have exploited legal loopholes.
The tightening process will plug existing loopholes and help authorities monitor milk prices better, Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Price Management Department at the Ministry of Finance, was quoted by news website VnExpress as saying Sunday.
Thoa said one of the rules stipulates that only companies with 50 percent state capital have to register their prices with the authorities. As most of the dairy firms in Vietnam are private and foreign-invested companies, it's impossible to require them to list their prices, he said.
Another legal shortcoming is a provision that gives the authorities the right to take measures to stabilize prices if prices surge by 20 percent or more. The problem is, Thoa said, dairy firms always raised their prices by 5-7 percent at a time, which means the authorities could not step in.
He said these regulations need to be amended so that dairy companies have to register prices and the authorities can take measures to stabilize the market when prices are hiked unreasonably.
Dairy prices in Vietnam are among the highest in the world. Most milk products in the country have to be imported.
Experts this week also accused dairy firms of putting misleading labels on their products after a large gap of more than 200,000 liters was reported in the country's total liquid milk output and the amount of milk that domestic dairy cows can produce.
According to a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, dairy firms produce around 479,000 liters of liquid milk a year, but Vietnam's dairy cows can only supply around 260,000 liters.
The gap means a large number of so-called fresh milk products on the market are actually reconstituted milk, or liquid milk produced by adding water to milk powder, experts said at a conference on Friday.
Vu Thi Bach Nga, head of a consumer protection department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said it's misleading to label all milk products as "fresh milk" without indicating whether they are reconstituted milk. There is no way that consumers can tell the difference, she said.
Many dairy firms have been violating consumer rights with this trick and need to be held accountable for such behavior, experts said.