Goat penis bacteria adds to food safety scare

Ho Chi Minh City destroyed nearly 1.5 tons of goat penis contaminated with bacteria Wednesday in the latest chapter of Vietnam’s food safety saga, which has seen putrid pork and rotten beef flood local markets.

On Sunday, district inspectors found NDT Company in Tan Binh District had imported large quantities of the product from Australia.

The shipments were labeled as inedible and not for human use.

Nguyen Thi Thu Nga, chief inspector of the HCMC Animal Health Agency, said the products were contaminated with bacteria, including Salmonella and E.Coli, and also failed to meet other food safety criteria.

However, inspectors said 47 of the 72 boxes imported had been sold as food. The inspectors issued fines against the company for trading animal products contaminated with bacteria.

A representative of NDT Company said the product had been imported from Australia on April 13 and that the 72 boxes had been approved as food by the Animal Health Agency Zone VI.

The case is not uncommon.

A market watchdog official in Ho Chi Minh City seizes the pork which fails to pass animal health agency inspections

Concerned agencies have reported an increase of tainted animal products imported from other countries for resell as food in HCMC recently.

Last week, inspectors in Binh Chanh District found another 855 kilograms of goat’s penis in storage at a QT-VT Company warehouse.

They have confiscated 57 boxes of 15 kilograms each. The company said they had sold 23 other boxes.

Inspectors said the products had also been labeled as not for human food but had been approved to be sold for the purpose.

Bacteria: tastes like chicken

Early this month, inspectors from the HCMC Animal Health Agency found more than five tons of bacteria-contaminated chicken wings that had been sold out of a Truc Den Company store on Ta Quang Buu Street in District 8.

The company had obtained approval of the Animal Health Bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to import 80 tons of chicken wings, 10 tons of chicken entrails and 10 tons of chicken thighs from Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm Pty. Ltd. in Australia.

Truc Den then imported 13.5 tons chicken wings, samples of which were tested by the Animal Health Agency Zone VI.

The agency, which found the product failing to meet criteria under two examinations on June 12 and June 16, then requested the company to sterilize the products.

Inspectors said Truc Den Company could only present proof of sterilization for one ton, conducted on June 17, and 12.5 tons on June 22. Only 8.2 tons of the total were found in store, while the rest had been sold without being rechecked, inspectors said.

Chu Xuan Phuong of HCMC Market Management Agency said bacteria contaminated food must be destroyed and should not be sterilized for later use.

Last Saturday, inspectors from Cu Chi District found a truck carrying ten tons of chicken products from the US and Thailand without any official documents.

Inspectors are following up on the case.

Where’s the beef?

On Tuesday, animal health inspectors in Dong Nai Province found large quantities of illegal pork at Tam Hoa Market in Bien Hoa Town.

Around 1,120 kilograms of pork were seized for being sold without proper certificates from animal health agencies.

Inspectors said the meat smelled bad and showed signs of carrying diseases.

Last month, the People’s Committee of Phu Nhuan District issued fines to CHM Trading JSC for violations related to the trade of over 800 kilograms of beef imported from the US.

The fine of VND40 million ($2,246) was issued for failing to register with quarantine agencies before transporting animal products, importing beef without legal certificates of origin, trading products without legal labels and selling products after their expiry date.

The authorities also destroyed 51 kilograms of expired beef without legal papers.

At a recent session of the HCMC’s People’s Council, Nguyen Van Chau, director of HCMC Health Department, said they could manage only eateries through registration, while foods sold by hawkers and at markets were nearly impossible to keep tabs on.

Reported by Thanh Nien staff


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