DA NANG — Factors such as poor equipment and measures and poor co-ordination among agencies, besides ambiguous links with food suppliers have prevented the central city from maintaining tight control on food safety.
|Local police force detected 18 violations related to food safety, but the highest fine imposed in the most serious case was VND10 million (US$476). — VNS Photo Ngoc Phu
A report showed that 80 per cent of the vegetables being supplied came from six local suppliers in the central region, but the city's agencies could test the produce of only two of these for the presence of pesticides.
The city officials warned the departments of heath, agriculture and rural development, industry and trade and environment police, saying that stricter measures were needed to implement long-term examinations and checks on food quality at super markets, wholesale markets, slaughter houses and suppliers.
Although the agencies reported only one food poisoning case with nine victims in 2015, and more than 93 per cent of 1,000 samples cleared the tests for microbiological and chemical indexes, consumers still have doubts about poor hygiene, contamination and the use of banned agents in food production.
"Stricter examinations and prolonged control must be conducted by different agencies from this month, when the demand of goods and food peaks," Vice-Chairman of the city's people's committee Dang Viet Dung said.
"All super markets in the city have to commit to provide safe food of good quality from reliable and tested suppliers. They (suppliers and processing centres) should be warned that intentional use of toxic and banned agents in food processing is considered as murder," Dung said at a meeting on food safety control.
He said the city has asked the agriculture and rural development department to prepare a project on food safety control that helps to plan safe food supply chains from farms to restaurants.
He asked agencies to remove all street markets and restaurants with poor hygiene to eliminate the risk of food poisoning.
The city has only two centres to test contaminated and banned agents in food samples, and it takes at least a month to release the test result, which costs VND2 million to VND4 million (US$95-$190) each.
Colonel Tran Thanh Nhon, head of the environment police office, said the police force detected 18 violations related to food safety, but the highest fine imposed in the most serious case was VND10 million (US$476).
He said unhygienic food could lead to illnesses or related diseases in millions of people, not only in Da Nang, but other provinces.
The city had allocated 70ha for vegetable farms with VietGap (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices) standards, but they could meet only five per cent of the city's demand, while the seafood supply met 30 per cent of total market demand.
The city of one million people consumes 70,000 tonnes of seafood and 80,000 tonnes of vegetables each year.
The city is yet to build food chains with suppliers in neighbouring areas in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Gia Lai and Kon Tum, besides Lam Dong.
Most of the farm products in Da Nang City's supermarkets are from Lam Dong Province, but it is rare for them to have certificates of origin. Consumers are confused as to how to recognise safe food and suppliers. — VNS