Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – By voluntarily providing information about their products, food producers can win consumers’ trust, thus enhancing their competitiveness, a seminar heard in HCM City yesterday.
Speaking at the seminar on Aligning Efforts to Ensure Transparency and Traceability in National Food Supply Chains, Vũ Thế Thành, a food safety expert, said for most consumers transparent information about food from the input to the production stage is extremely important.
The information should then be verified by Government management agencies, he said.
He also suggested that food producers should provide warning labels (for example, the product could cause allergies to certain users) as is the case in many countries.
Nguyễn Thị Hồng Minh, chairwoman of the advocacy committee for the establishment of Food Transparency Association, said unsafe food is still widespread in the market, directly affecting people’s health.
The use of plant protection chemicals in farming, antibiotics in animal breeding and preservatives in foodstuffs is still common, and authorised agencies seem unable to control it, she said.
What is safe to eat and drink remains a concern for many people, she said.
The ratio of producers meeting food safety and hygiene standards is low, she said.
Many companies have invested in producing safe food products, but consumers do not trust them because the “inspection and certification system has problems,” she said.
“Achieving safe food certification is only half the work, and the other half consists of building trust, market education, PR and marketing, and all these responsibilities fall on the shoulders of food producers.”
Stand-alone farmers and producers do not have sufficient resources and even certified safe food producers cannot survive without support from the market, she said.
Safe food producers need to collaborate to communicate, promote and market their products to win consumers’ trust, she said.
The Food Transparency Association would link up responsible players in the food production chain for the benefit of society and the environment, she said.
Nguyễn Phước Trung, director of the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the Food Transparency Association is necessary to bring food producers and traders together for building a safe food industry and improving the competitiveness of Vietnamese products, especially at a time of deeper integration.
The city would increase inspections and deal severely with violations related to food production, processing and trading, he said. - VNS