Food poisoning deaths double in Vietnam

Food poisoning killed 22 people and hospitalized 3,147 others in Vietnam during the first 11 months of this year, official government data shows.

The death toll is almost twice the figure recorded in the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Food safety is a national concern in Vietnam.

A report released in April compiled by a parliamentary group between 2011 and 2016 found that 8.5% of fresh fruit and vegetables sold during the period exceeded chemical residue safety limits, while 16% of the 57,400 farms involved in the study violated regulations involving the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

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A man receives medical treatment for food poisoning at a hospital in Nha Trang Town in central Vietnam in July. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc

Local media previously reported that tests conducted by health authorities found 30%-40% of all pork samples in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the two biggest cities in Vietnam, contained the harmful salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.

A 2015 survey by the National Institute of Nutrition found each Vietnamese person consumes 200 grams of vegetables on average a day, half the quantity advised by the World Health Organization and the same as in 1985 when Vietnam had a much smaller supply.

Le Bach Mai, deputy director of the institute, said people do not eat a lot of vegetables because they're not sure if they're safe.

Various studies have proved that excessive use of chemicals in vegetables exposes consumers to the risk of lymphoma, brain cancer, leukemia and prostate cancer.

The World Bank said in a report released in March that the regulatory framework in Vietnam has improved but there remain serious concerns over implementation and delivery of the intended regulatory outcomes.

“Since 2010, Vietnam has modernized its regulatory framework and its administrative structures in relation to food safety, but there is still significant scope for improvement, particularly with respect to implementation,” it said.

Vnexpress

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