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Food poisoning hits factory cafeterias

Update: October, 28/2015 - 09:38
Statistics from the Administration for Food Safety and Hygiene revealed that more than 380 people across the country suffered from food poisoning in October alone. — Photo vietq.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Food safety is still a major problem at factory canteens in industrial parks, officials said.

Statistics from the Administration for Food Safety and Hygiene revealed that more than 380 people across the country suffered from food poisoning in October alone.

"The overuse of plant protection chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides still persists," administration director Nguyen Thanh Phong said during a workshop held by the Ministry of Health on Monday.

The workshop focused on measures to ensure food safety and investigate food poisoning incidents at public canteens.

To tackle the problem, the Food Safety Administration has asked health and food safety departments to strengthen inspections and strictly handle violations for the remainder of the year.

Officials called on relevant agencies to strengthen communication in order to educate managers, chefs and staff working at canteens and food processing companies.

Statistics showed that 10 per cent of vegetable and fruit samples contained chemicals at levels above the allowed limits, he said.

In addition, the overuse of antibiotics and banned substances in animal husbandry is also contributing to food poisoning across the country.

Sixty-eight per cent of food poisoning occurs at public canteens in industrial zones.

Substandard food from processing and industrial-zone kitchens is believed to be the main culprit of food poisoning cases, officials said.

Many kitchens reportedly violated food safety and hygiene standards. Violations included serving food that did not have a clear origin, utilising substandard facilities and employing kitchen staff who were not trained on food safety and hygiene practices.

According to Phong, 70 per cent of food poisoning cases originated from food suppliers who did not ensure food hygiene and safety during production and processing.

Inspections revealed that food safety is still lacking in industrial districts, he said.

Many units did not meet the standard for food supply, but they still provided meals for workers at industrial parks.

In addition, the low cost of a meal - VND9,000-11,000 (US$0.40-0.50) is also contributing to the recent scourge of food poisoning, Phong said. — VNS

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