Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – HCM City’s Department of Health proposed city authorities remove all temporary markets and set up an agency to assure food safety and hygiene in the city, although it said this was a tough task.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the department said that it planned to build an agency, which would inspect food safety from farm to table on a trial basis. Food safety criteria would also be established, he added.
Hundreds of temporary markets have been operating in the city. Vendors have sold cheap vegetables and meat from pavements, attracting consumers regardless of the fact that most of the food is without clear origin.
Trần Thị Thảo, a butcher in a temporary market in Bình Thạnh District’s Bạch Đằng Alley, said to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that she has been renting a space in front of a motorbike repair shop to sell pork for ten years.
“I don’t have enough money to hire a kiosk at the market,” she said, “If the temporary market is removed, I really don’t know what to do”.
Nguyễn Minh Hoàng, a vegetable seller said that most vendors like him could not afford a kiosk at the market and it was not easy to hire one as most were occupied.
As a result, vendors have to sit on the streets, making road-side markets. They run when police approach and quickly return when they leave.
Lê Thành Tài, chairman of the Ward 13’s People’s Committee in Gò Vấp District said local temporary markets re-appeared quickly no matter how hard the committee cracked down on them.
Police officers were on duty along Lê Đức Thọ and Thống Nhất roads where vendors usually gathered to encourage vendors to move to official markets. However, the efforts failed as most vendors said hiring kiosks was too expensive.
Lê Văn Quang, chairman of Ward 11’s People’s Committee in Bình Thạnh District said that temporary markets were important for low-income earners, so it would take time to remove them.
Quang said it would take at least three years to remove them. The city should implement removal efforts in all wards to avoid markets reappearing.
According to experts, more should be done to improve the awareness of consumers about the safety and hygiene of food. A system of stores with fresh and clear-origin food should be built and developed to better serve consumers, especially low-income earners. — VNS