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School food vendors seek other buyers

Update: July, 16/2018 - 09:00
A shop selling vegetables and fruits at Bến Thành Market. — VNS File Photo.
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY  —  Suppliers of foods to pre-schools in HCM City are scrambling to join food distribution chains due to fears that unattached sellers would have their contracts terminated.

State pre-schools in Districts 3 and 5 have been piloting a food “safety chain” starting this school year, which requires food suppliers to be members of distribution chains or source their foods from such chains.

According to Đào Văn Đức, deputy chairman of the Phước An Production and Service Coop based in the city’s Bình Chánh District, said the co-operative has received orders from sellers who supply food to pre-schools in the district.

Its products are in demand because they come with distribution chain certification, and it has mapped out expansion plans, he said.

Đức said schools need many kinds of foods including rice, vegetables, fruits, meat, and eggs while there are few suppliers with distribution chain certificates.

A number of food suppliers are pushing back saying pre-schools should buy food that has quality certification like VietGAP, GlobalGAP, ISO, and HACCP rather than distribution chain certification.

Applied for fresh food

The trial of the food safety chain at pre-schools is part of an agreement signed by the HCM City Food Safety Management Board and the city Department of Education and Training to ensure food safety at schools.

The agreement encourages buying foods not just with distribution chain certification but also quality certification like HACCP, ISO 22000: 2005, VietGAP, and GlobalGAP.

However, some food suppliers and preschools mistakenly believe that only food from distribution chains are acceptable, Người Lao Động (Labourers) newspaper reported.

This is also the reason why many food suppliers and shops selling sweet egg custard, dumpling and milk have applied to join distribution chains, afraid they might lose their contracts otherwise.

Lê Minh Hải, deputy chief of the HCM City Food Safety Management Board, has written to the Department of Education and Training saying certification would be required soon for fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs and aquaculture products but not for processed foods.

According to the board, it has granted 203 distribution chain certificates to 109 individuals and organisations who can supply 94,000 tonnes of food a year.

These include over 48,000 tonnes of pork, 17,000 tonnes of chicken, nearly 6,500 tonnes of cow and buffalo meat, over 16.4 tonnes of vegetables and fruits, and 519 million chicken eggs.

They buy the products from renowned producers and distributors such as Vissan, Sagrifood, Ba Huân Egg, Vĩnh Thành Đạt, CP, VinEco Vegetables, and Phước An, Ngã Ba Giồng and Phú Lộc co-operatives.

The list of food suppliers possessing distribution chain certificates is published on the board’s website.—VNS

 

Lê Hùng Vọng

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