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Pilot plan to lift food safety

Update: April, 16/2013 - 10:07
Customers buy clean fruit at a supermarket in HCM City. The city plans to implement a pilot programme that will promote food safety through a retail supply chain. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

HCM CITY (VNS)— A pilot programme that will promote food safety through a local retail supply chain is being submitted to HCM City authorities for approval.

The programme, to be overseen by the city's Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT), would help ensure consumer safety and interests, and improve the service quality of sellers at local markets.

Le Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the department, said the programme was part of the city government's ambitious plan to build HCM City into a modern "civilised mega-city".

While many kinds of commodities, particularly food, are supplied by traditional markets, control over food safety remains lax.

Commodities eligible for the programme will be fresh food supplied from supply chains and wholesale markets, including livestock and poultry, poultry eggs, fruit and vegetables, seafood and food services

Traders of fresh food and providers of food services as well as market managers will also take part in the programme.

The city's Ben Thanh Market and wholesale Hoc Mon Market will be the first two sites chosen for the "healthy-food market" programme, according to Bui Thi Thuy Duyen, an official of DoIT. At Ben Thanh Market, the livestock and poultry trading sector and the food services sector will have to meet certain criteria.

For instance, traders must be licensed and clearly show the origins of their commodities, according to Duyen.

Departments, branches, districts and market management boards will also offer support to traders.

Shops involved in trading livestock and fruits and vegetables at the Hoc Mon Wholesale Market will also participate in the programme.

The livestock sector would encounter few problems because their products often have clear origins, Duyen said.

However, it was more difficult to trace the origin of fruit and vegetables as they were often collected from various sources.

Another problem is the resistance of traders to work under such an official system.

In an attempt to battle such prevailing attitudes, the programme will educate traders about the importance and effectiveness of having healthy markets.

Traders as well as markets should realise that their prestige and brand names would be enhanced if they met food-safety criteria, she said.

The city has 247 traditional markets, 142 supermarkets, 25 trade centres, more than 200 convenience shops, 2,000 grocery stores and nearly 200 vendor shopping points. — VNS

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