Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— Schools with 500 students or more should set up kitchens to make food for them to reduce the risk of food poisoning, HCM City officials have suggested.
Schools without canteens buy prepared meals from caterers, which poses a high risk of food poisoning, Phương Đại Ngọc, deputy head of the city Food Safety Management Board’s food poisoning management office, said.
In the past few years every food poisoning incident at schools occurred at places without canteens, he told a conference on Wednesday on food safety at schools.
In 2015 there had been only one incident, with 97 students taking sick. Last year it increased to two and 127 students were affected.
In the first nine months of this year one incident has been reported with 16 students eating contaminated food.
“If drastic measures are not taken, there will be more food poisoning incidents at schools.”
Food poisoning is usually caused by contamination that can happen at any stage of production.
Inspections by the Food Safety Management Board have found that workers at catering establishments are mostly not trained in storing or processing food and often use additives and ingredients of unknown origin.
Many businesses lack appropriate storage equipment for prepared food to ensure food safety and hygiene, according to the board.
Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the board, said all catering establishments would be checked for food safety certificates.
Schools are responsible for inspecting the ingredients used to make food in their canteens, she said.
The board would inspect catering businesses at least two or three times a year, she added.
Nguyễn Văn Gia Thụy, deputy head of the Department of Education and Training’s students task office, said education authorities would co-ordinate with the board to carry out regular checks of canteens and food suppliers.
Schools would be informed about caterers who meet safety and hygiene standards, he said.
The city has more than 4,000 catering facilities, including 2,820 that supply schools. — VNS