Beware: Your homemade Tet delicacies may be industrially produced

While more and more consumers in Vietnam steer clear from industrially produced food, shifting to ‘homemade’ alternatives, out of fear for unwanted chemicals, health experts have warned that the latter also poses health risks, if bought from sources subject to no safety or hygiene regulations. Some stores claiming to offer only home-produced food turn out to mass-produce their products using industrial machines. A facility based in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long famous for their banana preserves claim to be able to sell two metric tons of the sweet snack every year during Tet, or Lunar New Year. Despite marketing themselves as selling only homemade banana preserves, the establishment in reality operates no differently than a large-scale business, and even uses industrial machines to speed up the process. “If we do it by hand, one worker can only finish two batches of banana preserves a day at most,” said L., an employee at the establishment. “A machine can perform the task at four to five times the efficiency.” Bui Thi Thanh Tuyen, who resides in Dsitrict 10, Ho Chi Minh City, said she was a fan of homemade food due to her fear of consuming unwanted chemicals from industrially produced food. Tuyen has said she had just bought dozens of kilograms of food from homemade stores at between ten and 20 percent higher prices than they would have cost at regular outlets. However, she admitted not knowing whether the products were actually home-produced, relying on recommendations from friends and… [Read full story]

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