Food safety should be priority for local, export markets

Unsafe food is still widespread in the domestic market, causing concern among consumers, according to experts. “Vietnamese producers do this very well for exports, but in the domestic market consumers still face risks from unsafe food,” Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the Food Safety Management Board of HCM City, said. In recent years, exports of Vietnamese farm produce have increased significantly year after year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam earned US$36.37 billion from farm produce exports last year, a year-on-year increase of 13 per cent. Fruits and vegetables alone fetched $3.5 billion. “To achieve these numbers, Vietnamese farm produce must satisfy international quality standards, so the country can show that it has high potential for producing safe food,” Lan said. Producers still give priority to export products of good quality and distribute lower-quality products in the domestic market, she added. The Government’s regulations and management policies still have loopholes for fraudulent businesses to thrive, she said. Also, producers have had difficulties because consumers want to have both safe and beautiful products at cheap prices, she said. Nguyen Thai Binh, director of Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC, said to produce safe products, producers should comply with Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGap) standards. There is a lack of trust among consumers about safe products, he said. To win back trust, State management agencies must improve the control of the market and strictly deal with violations on food safety, he said. Vu Kim Hanh, chairwoman of…

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