Food safety watchdog neglects vegetarian food

Many vegetarian restaurants have mushroomed and a variety of vegetarian foods are being sold in markets to satisfy the increasing demand of people, yet there is no way to detect how safe is the vegetarian food being served in restaurants or sold in markets.

Many vegetarian restaurants have mushroomed and a variety of vegetarian foods are being sold in markets to satisfy the increasing demand of people, yet there is no way to detect how safe is the vegetarian food being served in restaurants or sold in markets.

A store in Phu Lam Market sells vegetarian foods without name of manufacturing company, expiry date or food safety certificates (Photo: SGGP)
A store in Phu Lam Market sells vegetarian foods without name of manufacturing company, expiry date or food safety certificates (Photo: SGGP)

Vegetarian foods are prepared from dried bean curd, mushrooms and braised gluten, and sometimes made to taste like meat, which amateur vegetarians prefer as it stays for a longer duration.

However, the real concern is whether these vegetarian food items are safe or not and which agency controls the food safety and hygiene for such food items, because most of these foods come from China and Taiwan (China).

Stores in wholesale markets like Binh Tay, An Dong and Phu Lam display vegetarian foods with unclear markings and without legal certificates of safety and names of manufacturers.

A shop assistant said mushrooms, dried tofu sticks, braised gluten are from China while spices, seasonings and additives are from Taiwan (China),  as the country can only grow Chinese black mushroom (or Shiitake Mushroom) while others such as King Oyster Mushroom (Shimeji Mushroom), Enoki Mushroom (Golden Mushroomare), Pleurotus Mushroom are brought into the country.

Similarly, sauces, soy sauce, soya cheese are sold in markets without legal certificates of safety and names of company, date of manufacturing and expiry date.

Tran Thi Thua, director of a company that produces the vegetarian food Amla, said consumers should buy food items with clear markings and indications of date of manufacturing and expiry, and advised people to be cautious of foods mixed with contaminated colorants and preservatives.

Hence, it is essential for the food safety watchdog to monitor and inspect vegetarian food items being sold in markets, to protect consumers.

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