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Việt Nam’s first DiploHack discusses food safety

Update: December, 14/2016 - 17:00
Diplomats, IT professionals, food producers and organisations’ representatives gather at a Diplohack this morning to discuss about food safety in Việt Nam. — VNS Photo Bích Hường
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Dutch, Danish and Swedish embassies today introduced the first ever DiploHack in Việt Nam, themed “Trust in the Food Chain”, one of the major issues in Việt Nam.

DiploHacks are a new way of bringing together civil society, industries, students, information technology experts and diplomats to brainstorm and come up with new ideas on how to tackle important issues in society. 

The event organised this morning raised people’s concerns about the quality of food - whether what they buy and eat is safe, healthy and nutritious. Experts said that to know the quality of food, people must have information on where and how the food is produced, how it has been handled and how it should be used, as things can go wrong during any stage of production, processing, packaging, storing, cooking, and even serving. Improved transparency and flow of information will help people take informed decisions on what they eat.

In Việt Nam, it is difficult to access food-related information, and the DiploHack discussed issues such as who should be responsible for providing the information, in what format and by what means as well as what it takes for people to trust the information they receive.

Arie Veldhuizen, agricultural counsellor at the Netherlands embassy, said a value chain that guarantees that the food is safe from farm to fork must be put in place. “All the stakeholders should be connected, and all the stages should be traceable and strictly supervised,” he said.

Camilla Bjelkas, cultural officer at the Swedish embassy, said that in Sweden, government agencies constantly monitor and track food products. Apart from this, they also make sure that producers mark their products with different certificates. Because of transparency, consumers in Sweden can report to the National Food Agency or talk to the media if they have suspicions about any food they buy.

Nguyễn Văn Thuận, an official from Việt Nam’s agriculture ministry, said Vietnamese consumers are very concerned about the safety and source of food, now that they are more wealthy and health-conscious. This change in attitude has prompted many parties and authorities to fulfil their responsibilities, particularly in following food control regulations. — VNS

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