Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – While unsafe food was a growing threat, it was critical to develop a food supply chain to improve control quality from the farm to table, experts said yesterday.
Food safety violations, which were posing serious threats to the health of the community as well as the country’s economic development, have never been as alarming, the experts said at an online conference held by Diễn Đàn Doanh Nghiệp (Business Forum) newspaper.
Vũ Vinh Phú, president of Hà Nội Supermarket Association, said that unsafe food must be addressed as a national problem. Unsafe food was being sold not only at traditional markets or vendors but also on shelves of even supermarkets while consumers were in the dark about the quality of food and foodstuff, and it was difficult to differentiate between what was safe and what was unsafe, he said.
“The State management agencies should be blamed. The efforts are not adequate and appropriate,” Phú said, adding that measures to protect consumers must be increased.
Currently, the quality control remained at the distribution phase, Phú said.
“It should go from production, processing and distribution. If no improvements are made, unsafe food will remain a threat in the next decade,” he said and estimated that 95 per cent of food on the shelves was now unsafe.
It was important that businesses must be aware of producing and distributing safe food products to protect not only consumers but also their brands, Phú said.
According to Lê Đức Thịnh, deputy director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Co-operatives and Rural Development, food safety would involve the participation of not only the government agencies but also farmers, companies and consumers.
Food safety must be ensured from the production stage which must get businesses to link with farmers to build a supply chain, Thịnh said.
In addition, awareness of consumers must be enhanced and they should play their roles in the fight against unsafe food while penalties must be stricter to prevent deliberate violations, he said.
Thịnh said the agriculture ministry was making efforts to restructure the agricultural sector towards high value-adds and sustainable development, which would encourage farmers to produce safe food.
Vũ Doãn Huy, deputy director of Food Việt Nam Joint Stock Company, producers should co-operate with each other to produce safe food and foodstuff, such as founding an association in Australia, and implementing cross-checking of quality.
The co-operation among food producers to build a brand and cross checking to ensure quality would be necessary, Lê Văn Giang, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Food Safety, said at the conference.
Lê Văn Hưng, from the Việt Nam Association of Organic Agriculture said that a State agency in charge of certifying safe food products should be established. – VNS