The Vietnam'S Food Control System

New cases of food poisoning across the country have once again highlighted the need for better food safety management in Vietnam giới.

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On July 29, a group of tourists from Laos were rushed khổng lồ a hospital with food poisoning after having dinner at a restaurant in Da Nang.

As many as 26 tourists were sent to the emergency room where doctors treated them for stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, fever và dizziness; đôi mươi more tourists from the same group were admitted the following day suffering from the same symptoms.

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Four of the victims were children, và the youngest was just two years old.

On August 1, local authorities fined the N&M Restaurant VND25 million (US$1,100), but they were unable to collect samples of the food that allegedly caused the poisoning.

This was the second case of mass food poisoning reported in the central đô thị this year.

The case prompted Da Nang’s health department to lớn establish a đường dây nóng to lớn provide information khổng lồ diners about restaurants and eateries that have sầu alleged food safety issues.

At least a dozen of food poisoning cases have sầu been reported this year across the country, which have affected both locals và foreigners.

A Major Concern

A government report delivered to lớn a meeting of the National Assembly, Vietnam's top legislature, on June 5 said that 86 percent of Vietnamese people were concerned about food safety.

More than a fifth of the three million businesses involved in the food industry had committed safety violations, with more than 1,700 food poisoning cases killing 164 people in the past five years, the report said.

The World Bank also wrote in a Vietnamese food safety report released on March 27 that food safety is a major concern for the public, và produces high levels of anxiety each time there is a high-profile food safety incident.

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Vietnam’s reputation amongst its trading partners as a major food exporter is vulnerable, as trade statistics show levels of contamination, according to the report.

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Food-borne illnesses are notoriously difficult to lớn assess in any country, but the màn chơi of contamination found in Vietnamese food for domestic consumption justifies public and trade concerns, it stated.

The report found that the primary cause of food-borne illnesses come from bacterial contamination, rather than from chemicals, which could be prevented by better levels of hygiene throughout the production chain.

World Bank statistics showed that 80 percent of pork và 85 percent of vegetables are mostly sold in wet markets in Hanoi và Ho Chi Minc City, while 76 percent of pork is slaughtered in small và dirty facilities.

It said that the most prevalent microbiological hazard in pork in Hanoi và Ho Chi Minch City is salmonella, with the bacteria found in 30 percent of the pork samples taken at slaughterhouses, và 40 percent of the pork found on sale at local markets.

According to the report, regular use of agricultural products such as antibiotics, pesticides & chemical fertilisers, poorly-regulated or illegal imports, lack of traceability và cross-contamination are also important factors to improve; the biggest challenge, however, lies in changing the growing and raising practices of the vast numbers of small farmers.

Ineffective Management

According to VnExpress, the Vietnamese government has been urged to lớn put food safety higher on the national agendomain authority & to issue policies strong enough to lớn encourage the production & supply of safe food.

The World Bank said that Vietphái mạnh has a modern food safety regulatory framework with foundations in place for further improving food safety performance and outcomes, but much more could be done to lớn make it result-focused & risk-based.

The Food Safety Law, adopted in 2010, has regulations on the management of many kinds of foods, including street food. But a laông chồng of effective sầu enforcement has done little to lớn reduce the number of food safety and hygiene issues.

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Moreover, overlaps in food safety management have frustrated many in the industry.

VNExpress quoted a seafood store owner as saying, “There are inspection teams from the health và agricultural sectors. Then there are teams from the ward, district & even inter-agency teams from a municipal cấp độ. Why can't these teams mô tả their demo results to save costs and cut the onerous red tape?”

Under new food safety laws revised in July, the maximum punishment for food poisoning và other food safety violations in Vietnam giới was raised from 5 lớn 20 years in prison. Fines were also increased tenfold khổng lồ VND500 million (US$22,425).