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Vietnam Food & Beverage Forum 2019 held in Hanoi

Released at: 17:14, 25/11/2019

Vietnam Food & Beverage Forum 2019 held in Hanoi

Photo: Vietnam Food & Beverage Forum 2019

Forum discusses international practices towards sustainable goals in business and food safety management in Vietnam.

by Phi Linh

The Vietnam Food & Beverage Forum 2019, with the theme “Actions for Sustainability and Better Food Safety Management”, was held by the American Chamber of Commerce Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) in cooperation with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), the Vietnam Dairy Association (VDA), and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on November 25 in Hanoi.

The forum concentrated on opportunities and challenges for the food and beverage (F&B) industry in Vietnam from many different perspectives, and shared international best practices towards sustainable goals in business and food safety management in Vietnam.

In attendance were Executive Director of AmCham Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City Chapter, Ms. Mary Tarnowka, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Vietnam, Ms. Caryn R. McClelland, Deputy General Director of the General Department of Standards, Metrology and Quality at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Linh, and General Secretary of VCCI, Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh. The forum also included speakers and more than 200 delegates from ministries and agencies, research agencies, international organizations, businesses, and business associations, as well as international experts and the media.

The forum provided an opportunity for speakers and participants to discuss and share best practices regarding the business environment, food safety management, and new trends from international and domestic enterprises, as well as initiatives for sustainable development with action for the environment and human health.

It consisted of two dialogue sessions with the topics: Food and Beverage Industry and Actions for Sustainable Environment, and Policy Dialogue to Promote Manufacturing and Trading in the F&B Industry in Vietnam.

In the first session, speakers from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Food Industry Asia (FIA), and the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam) focused on discussing the issues of plastic packaging, waste management, and promoting a circular economic model towards sustainable development. Practical experiences and initiatives were shared to resolve these issues in a real-world and effective way, especially in Vietnam’s F&B industry.

For decades, food and beverage packaging has been an important part of our modern lives, but post-consumer packaging has placed a heavy burden on the natural environment. As explored at the forum, plastic waste management is a complicated matter that requires a holistic approach involving commitments and partnerships from all stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

The forum covered understandings on a circular economy, where Vietnam is, and how industry and country moves forward with policies, business strategies, technology, and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to promote plastics recycling and sustainable packing toward CE concepts and models. Highlights included international good practices on waste management and recycling, holistic whole value-chain solutions for packaging circularity, and initiatives and innovation from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries implementing sustainable “life cycles” for packaging in the F&B sector.

In the second session, speakers and delegates focused on issues related to policies and regulations on quality management and commodity standards in Vietnam’s F&B industry. Speakers included representatives from the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, the Department of Food Safety, the Ministry of Health, and independent experts from the International Life Sciences Institute.

Quality and standards are the basic characteristics for evaluating all types of goods, including food and beverages, because these characteristics help consumers understand important information about the products they eat and drink. Improvements in the management of food quality standards will also promote the export of goods by domestic businesses by standardizing quality regulations that meet international standards.

Highlights of this discussion included: (1) labeling according to international standards and conforming to international law on food labeling related to Circular No. 05/2019/TT-BKHCN on goods labeling, including the advantages and disadvantages for enterprises in the actual process of implementing and sharing international experiences in food labeling; (2) development of Vietnamese standards in the F&B industry in the future; and (3) challenges of promoting the import and export of food and beverages related to Health Certification, Certification of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and Certificate of Free Sale (CFS), and products containing food additives on the list related to Circular No. 24/2019/TT-BYT.

“As Vietnam’s population continues to surge, with rising incomes, purchasing power, and demand for new food and beverage markets, the issues of sustainability and food safety management standards are critically important,” said Ms. Tarnowka. “Today’s agenda will explore the opportunities and challenges of the food and beverage business and regulatory climate in Vietnam. It is our hope that today’s discussion and knowledge-sharing will promote improved regulations based on sound science in line with international standards that ensure safe food and beverage products for Vietnamese consumers and sustainability of economic growth. Such standards also help facilitate Vietnam’s rapidly increasing food and beverage exports.”

“We appreciate the initiative to have an annual forum on the food and beverage industry,” said Mr. Linh. “This will be a link between State management agencies, businesses, and researchers to discuss policies, regulations, standards, the business environment, production, and sustainable development in this important industry.”

Its involvement in the forum, he added, shows that the General Department of Quality Control is keen to accompany associations and businesses to improve State regulations on standards and quality to create favorable conditions for production and business activities and the export of goods, and contributes to promoting Vietnam’s economy in order for it to develop and integrate into the global economy.

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