HCMC determined to battle unsafe food

From March 22 to 24, a group of staff from the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City arrived at gardeners in Lam Dong Province on the supply of safe vegetables and fruits for consumers in the city as a move to battle unclean food.

Consumers are selecting fruits at a supermarket in HCMC

According to Deputy Director Nguyen Nguyen Phuong of the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City, inspectors just take samplings for testing and the city has been building supply chains of safe food, but unclean foods are still available on the market, and the quality of the goods is still not as good as exported goods. Despite the government and the entire machinery of the state’s great efforts in battling unchecked food, foods and goods of substandard quality are still transported to Ho Chi Minh City’s markets due to untough sanctions.

Based on a proposal of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade and a number of departments and agencies, seven supermarkets including Saigonco.op, Satra, MM Mega Market, Central Retail, AEon Mall, Bach Hoa Xanh and Vincommerce have put forward important principles to join hands to protect consumer health and prevent unsafe products from importing into the above-mentioned supermarkets.

The program outlines important actions to detect and prevent unsafe products from the beginning, as well as at a small scale within the distribution system. If a product is found to have a problem with food safety, distributors of that goods will be suspended for 24 hours for safety inspection.

Initially, the program applies to three product groups, including fruits (mango, king orange, green-skinned grapefruit, white dragon fruit, melon), vegetables (green lolot lettuce, bok choy, white cabbage, regular tomatoes, regular cucumbers), meat (pork, chicken) after April 1. Later, rice will be one of the products in the pilot program.

Director Phan Quoc Hoang of Thao Nguyen Xanh Company highly appreciated the pilot initiative of the retail supermarket system as well as Ho Chi Minh City's industry and trade sector in an effort to tighten food safety. Currently, businesses are providing all kinds of green vegetables grown in greenhouses for Saigon Co.op and Satra Food supermarkets.

With more than 20 years of experience supplying goods to Co.opmart supermarket and some other supermarkets, Director Nguyen Lam Son of Thao Nguyen Agricultural Products Company said that this cooperation between retail supermarkets helps eliminate the situation of ‘Bumper harvest, fall in price’.

Mr. Nguyen Lam Son also proposed to have separate identification logos for qualified manufacturing enterprises when participating in this pilot program.

A representative of Viet Farm Company revealed that the company is practicing VietGAP, GlobalGAP and EU production standards to supply food to domestic consumers as well as for exports. Accordingly, Viet Farm representatives suggested that the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City will participate in supervising food.

Deputy Head Nguyen Nguyen Phuong said that the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City will work with the supermarket system to discuss general criteria. Based on the general criteria, manufacturers can negotiate with supermarkets to import vegetables and fruits into supermarkets conveniently.

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