HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam announced national standards on chilled meat and technical requirements to meet expectations of markets at home and abroad at a press conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Hà Nội on October 17.
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) signed its Decision 3078 on October 16 to issue the standards, the ministry said.
Nguyễn Như Tiệp, director of MARD’s National Agro-Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, said Việt Nam is a country consuming a huge volume of pork. Sometimes, the quality of pork in some localities has not reached appropriate standards on food hygiene and safety.
Việt Nam has food hygiene and safety standards for meat, but those standards are not suitable to meet demands in domestic and foreign markets, he said.
To meet those requirements, the MARD and the MoST have cooperated in compiling new standards for chilled meat of Việt Nam.
The Vietnamese standard requires that pigs must have a clear origin and be certified by the veterinary inspection agency.
The standards include requirements for raw materials and technical requirements at each stage of production, storage and distribution to ensure the quality of the chilled meat. The standard set stipulates labeling to distinguish between fresh meat and chilled meat.
Those standards will help improve transparency in management and also provide a legal framework for companies producing and trading this product. It will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese consumers to use a delicious and healthy food product.
This standard set will help Vietnamese meat enter export markets.
In the Vietnamese market, there is mainly fresh meat, which is put on the market right after slaughtering without cold storage. The fresh pork does not required large investment in storage and is preferred by local consumers even though it is the type of meat most likely to be sold without preservation and from an unknown source.
The MARD estimates that up to 90 per cent of pork sold on the domestic market is warm pork.
In contrast to warm pork, frozen meat is frozen at minus 18 degrees Celsius and preserved for a long time before sale. However, this kind of food requires consumers to have knowledge to use, especially of the right defrosting technique to ensure quality.
According to international standards, chilled meat is meat preserved by chilling to and maintaining at no more than 45°F (7°C) immediately after slaughter. Quick chilling has many advantages and maintenance of low humidity is favoured to prevent mold growth.
The processes of production, preservation and trading for chilled meat are very popular and have been standardised in the world.
This kind of meat is a product that is consumed in large markets in the world such as the EU and the US. In the future, chilled meat is also the development trend of the slaughtering and meat processing industries as well as of new products developed in Việt Nam, he said.
According to the MARD, pork production in 2016 reached a record level of 3.36 million tonnes, up 5 per cent against 2015 and ranking seventh in the world after China, the US, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Russia.
However, pork meat is mainly used for domestic consumption while the export volume is very small. — VNS