City continues blitz on unsafe food sales
HCM CITY — Authorities in HCM City plan to buy more testing equipment and spend more money on food-safety and hygiene inspections at the city's wholesale markets.
Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, said the city had been working closely with other provinces to manage the origin of food from areas outside the city.
The city had managed to trace the source of 70 per cent of food from other provinces, with close coordination between the Department of Health, the Department of Industry and Trade and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Thuan spoke during the "Listen and Exchange" programme that aired live on HCM City Television on Sunday.
HCM City targets controlling the origin of 85 per cent of food items by 2015 and aims to have no more food items without label of origin by 2020.
More than 80 per cent of food consumed in the city is supplied by other localities, according to Nguyen Phuoc Trung, deputy director of the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
"Although the city has signed agreements on the management of origin of food with 22 cities and provinces where vegetables, seafood, livestock and other products originate, it is impossible to control the quality and hygiene of all food entering the city," Trung said.
During the TV programme, participants spoke about the poor awareness of consumers who bought food at open markets on pavements and from street vendors because of cheap prices.
Thuan advised residents in the city to choose food items from reputable producers and suppliers.
During the first six months of the year, only one case of mass food poisoning was reported in the city, according to Huynh Le Thai Hoa, head of the city's Food Safety and Hygiene Division.
Hoa attributed the positive results to the city's beefed-up efforts to inspect and fine traders selling unsafe food items. — VNS