HCM City asked to set up food control, ensure safety

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has instructed Ho Chi Minh City authorities to tighten management of food products at wholesale markets and supermarkets to ensure food safety and hygiene.

Food-testing points were set up at the three biggest wholesale markets in the city to make sure food products meet hygiene standards before entering the market, he said at a working session with municipal authorities on January 27.

The city should also build a roadmap to protect consumers, and assure that food products from other localities meet hygiene standards before being transported into the city, he said.

These regulations will not cause difficulties for farmers, they will help them become familiar with new production standards that will improve their products' values, Dam said. 

He also pointed to the need for relevant ministries and agencies to build a more effective information dissemination plan to raise farmers' and businesses' awareness about food hygiene and safety.

"If we didn't put in place strict measures now to ensure food safety and hygiene, it would cost more later to provide health check-ups and treatment for people who got sick from dangerous food products," he said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said city authorities should increase inspections all year round, not just during Tet when people's demand for food products increased.

Le Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, said the city has more than 20,000 street food establishments. In 2014, a city inspection found food safety violations at nearly 2,700 of them. Inspectors took more than 27,000 samples for testing and found that about 24,000 of them met hygiene standards.

City authorities organised free training courses on food safety and hygiene for more than 10,400 members of the food industry. Also, the city signed agreements with 22 localities on providing local consumers safe, hygienic food products, he said.