HA NOI — The Plant Protection Department, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, encouraged enterprises to import safe preservatives which can help improve the value of domestic farming products, said the department director, Nguyen Xuan Hong.
|Workers sort pineapples. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is urging farming enterprises to import safe preservatives to help improve the shelf-life of their products.—VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
Plant hormones, organic acid and growth regulating substances were among eligible groups of preservatives, Hong said.
Viet Nam has yet to specify the use of any chemicals, safe or unsafe, for preserving farming products, especially for fruits and vegetables.
Meanwhile, the use of safe preservatives is popular in other countries, including mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, Australia and EU countries.
In Viet Nam, people usually dissolved vitamin B1 in water to keep flowers fresh for longer, which was harmless, Hong gave an example.
Similarly, salicylix acid not only functions as a plant hormone but also has the ability to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. The medicinal properties, particularly fever relief, have been known since ancient times when they were used as anti-inflammatory drugs. The use of the acid is therefore good for fruit preservation and people's health.
Though Vietnamese enterprises still hesitate with importing preservatives for agricultural products, the move could help avoid the intrusion of substandard preservatives that harm people's health.
Lack of information and people's prejudices regarding preservatives were two major reasons for the enterprises' hesitation, Hong said, adding that people usually thought preserved fruits were not healthy.
Meanwhile, Hong said, poor post-harvest techniques, including preservation, reduced the value of Viet Nam's potential fruits for export, such as green dragon fruit, litchi and sweet mango.
For example, Viet Nam's litchi exported to China was likely to spoil five days later, but proper use of preservatives could keep it fresh for 10 days without damaging its quality or harming health.
Agriculture official Hong said that at present, there were over 1,200 chemical substances and compounds on the list of allowed plant protection substances dated 10 years ago, revealing its outdatedness.
"The department is compiling a draft for managing plant protection chemicals to replace the current one," Hong said.
"The new circular is expected to create a better legal framework for facilitating enterprises importing quality plant protection chemicals, as well as curb the intrusion of the substandard ones into domestic market," he said. — VNS