1. Competent authority
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)
1. Management of meat and meat products:
2. Inspection, quarantine, risk analysis during importation
Ministry of Health (MOH)
Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance under Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)
General Department of Vietnam Customs
Generally speaking, MARD is the responsible authority for the management of most meat and meat products. But products made from meat product may be subject to the jurisdiction of other departments like MOH and MOIT, as per Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP of the Government: Detailing the Implementation of a Number of Articles of the Law on Food Safety. For example, some products can be functional food subject to the management of the MOH.
Note: Within this Pedia, we will explore the regulations governing the importation of meat and meat products intended for consumption as food in Vietnam.
2. Market access requirements
Enterprises shall check the following compliance points before selling their products to Vietnam.
2.1 Requirements for exporting country and manufacturer
Before selling products to Vietnam, enterprises shall ensure that the exporting country has obtained the approval of exporting meat products to Vietnam. This requirement is stipulated in Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP of the Government: Detailing the Implementation of a Number of Articles of the Law on Food Safety, later partially amended by Decree No. 155/2018/ND-CP (hereinafter Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP). The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the eligibility of the food safety control system in the exporting country.
Besides, importers need to check whether the manufacturer and exporting country are in the list of permitted exporting countries/enterprises to Vietnam. The list of permitted exporting countries and manufacturers with relevant products can be found here.
For exporting countries and/or manufacturer, whose products are not in this list and want to trade terrestrial animal products to Vietnam, the competent authority in the exporting country shall submit an application with a list of manufacturers together with products to be imported to MARD. MARD will conduct an inspection and give the inspection result. In case of any supplements to the list, the exporting country should also send an updated list of manufacturers and products to MARD. The procedure for such matter is provided at Article 22 of Decree 15/2018/ND-CP.
Please note that foods that are processed or prepackaged are exempted from the above requirements.
2.2 Permitted & prohibited Products
As mentioned in Point 2.1, enterprises can only export registered products in the list to Vietnam. Any supplements to the list will need approval from the MARD as indicated above.
Animal products imported must not be in the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or endangered, precious and rare animals that are prohibited for importation to Vietnam. Details of the CITE list can be found in appendix I of Decree 06/2019/ND-CP Management Endangered, Precious and Rare Species of Forest Fauna and Flora (partially amended by Decree 84/2021/ND-CP).
In addition, Decree 69/2018/ND-CP stipulating specific articles of the Law on Foreign Trade Management identifies products that are prohibited from being imported to Vietnam (refer to appendix II of this Decree).
2.3 Self-declaration for prepackaged meat products
General procedures for self-declaration:
Food traders shall submit to the competent authority a dossier for self-declaration of conformity of the product. If the dossier is complete and in accordance with the regulations, the competent authority will upload the product’s information on their public system. If the dossier is not satisfactory with the requirements, it will be returned by the authority for correction.
At the same time, the food trader will announce the declared dossier about the product at the company's headquarters, upload to their website, or publish on mass media.
Right after the self-declaration is made on the health system, the supplier is entitled to manufacture and sell the product and assume full responsibility for the safety of such product.
Required materials include:
The self-declaration form (Form No. 01 in Appendix I of Decree No. 15/2018);
The original copy or the certified true copy of the food safety data sheet issued by a designated laboratory or a laboratory complying with ISO 17025 within 12 months before the self-declaration is made.
2.4 Certificate of satisfaction of food safety conditions
As per Vietnam’s Law No. 55/2010/QH12 on Food Safety, food trading establishments in Vietnam are required to meet conditions outlined in Chapter IV of this law pertaining to premises, storage, transportation and trading of food products.
Especially, all food traders of aquatic food must obtain the Certificate of Satisfaction of Food Safety Conditions from the MARD, except for:
They are sellers of prepackaged foods;
They have one of the following valid certificates: GMP, HACCP, ISO22000, IFS, BRC, FSSC 22000 or an equivalent certificate;
Other situations specified by Article 12, Decree 15/2018/ND-CP.
2.5 Inspection & quarantine and needed licenses
Meat products in Vietnam are managed by both the Law on Food Safety and the Law on Veterinary. According to current practice, all meat products, including processed and unprocessed items, when imported into Vietnam, must undergo certain inspection.
2.5.1 Pre-Import risk analysis
According to Article 43 of the Law on Veterinary:
Animals/animal products on the List of terrestrial animals and products thereof subject to risk analysis before importing into Vietnam shall undergo the risk analysis.
Department of Animal Health of the MARD of the shall carry out the risk analysis on the basis of the information provided by agencies competent in veterinary medicine of the exporting country and other relevant information (including possible on-site inspections in the exporting country).
Before the products arrived at the Customs Gate, importers apply for quarantine certificates and other permits that may apply. Sampling for inspection may be necessary upon the arrival of products at the Customs Gate.
Certain meat products are subject to quarantine when importing into Vietnam. Details of the list of such terrestrial animals and animal products can be found at Appendices of Circular 25/2016/TT-BNNPTNT which were further amended by Circular 35/2018/TT-BNNPTNT.
Quarantine procedure are provided in Circular 25/2016/TT-BNNPTNT, which was further amended by Circular 35/2018/TT-BNNPTNT and Circular 09/2022/TT-BNNPTNT (i.e. consolidated versions Nos. 07/VBHN-BNNPTNT dated 04 December 2022).
2.5.3 State inspection on food safety
Generally, products derived from terrestrial animals imported for food consumption may undergo this type of inspection. The purpose of this inspection is to verify whether such products meet the specified requirements, as stipulated in Article 14 of Decree 15/2018. These requirements align with those outlined in Article 44 of the Law on Veterinary for animal products intended for use as food.
Exporting country: The country of origin must have a food safety control system satisfying Vietnam’s regulations and included in the list of registered countries and territories that export foods derived from animals to Vietnam;
Manufacturer: products must be originated from manufacturer registered for exporting to Vietnam, where the animals are slaughtered, prepared, and/or processed.
The details of registering exporting countries/manufacturers with their products are indicated in Part 2 above.
Each shipment has a certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting country, confirming compliance with food safety regulations (i.e. Health Certificate/Sanitary Certificate/Quarantine Certificate). However, processed or prepackaged foods are exempted from this requirement (Art. 14 and 18 of Decree 15/2018/ND-CP).
Legal basis for the food safety inspection and quarantine are as follows:
State inspection of imported food safety
There are also specific regulations regarding the importation and trade of animals that are considered endangered, precious, and rare according to the Convention on International Trade in CITES in Vietnam. Details of specific species falling under these categories can be found in Appendix I of Decree 26/2019/ND-CP, which was further amended by Decree 84/2021/ND-CP. For species that are permissible for importation, a CITES permit is required.
3. Product compliance
Food products shall satisfy general food safety conditions specified in
Circular No. 05/2019/TT-BKHCN guiding the implementation of Decree 73/2017/ND-CP.
Besides the regulations above, it is important to know specialized regulations for certain products as well as safety and hygiene requirements.
Safety and hygiene requirements
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