Tourists walk along a street selling food near Hanoi’s Hương Pagoda. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Hanoi’s Department of Health will deploy mobile food testing labs to deter unsafe food sold at restaurants and street vendors where spring festivals take place, Nguyen Khac Hien, director of the department, has said.

A food testing lab stopped outside a restaurant in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Interdisciplinary inspection teams, in cooperation with local authorities, will take samples of food at food businesses operating at festivals for tests this month, according to Hien.

Those who were found to violate food safety and hygiene regulations will face fines and be forced to stop business. The Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival in My Duc district, which welcomes tens of thousands of tourists each day during the festival time, will be the first to be inspected this month, the official added.  

The mobile testing labs, which could test a raw food sample for different kinds of chemicals or bacteria within 30 minutes or two hours at the longest, will help deterring violated businesses at the soonest time, he said on February 7.

Inside a mobile testing lab (Photo: VNA)

The labs will ease difficulties of inspection work, he added. As usual, there are many food vendors at festivals while the time of testing food at local labs took much time. When the authorised agencies receive food test results, a large amount of food had been sold.  

Previously, the department required all food businesses to sign commitment to follow the regulations on food hygiene and safety.

Last weekend, an interdisciplinary inspection team from the department conducted an inspection on 23 food businesses at Va Temple Festival in Son Tay township. All 10 samples of noodles and five samples of chili sauce met the food hygiene and safety’s requirements. However, only 22 out of 55 bowls were found to meet the hygiene.

The team gave warnings to these businesses. The festival welcomed nearly 1,000 tourists each day.

Another inspection team also inspected two businesses at Soc Temple Festival in Soc Son district and two other businesses in Tay Ho Temple in Tay Ho district. Results showed that the preservation work of raw materials did not meet safety criteria.

Last month, the Ministry of Health’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department has set up six teams and more than 5,100 groups to inspect food businesses in 42 cities and provinces. More than 2,300 businesses were found to violate the regulations, paying the fines of nearly 8.2 billion VND (361,940 USD) in total.

As many as 22 businesses were forced to stop their operation and 414 kinds of food were seized and culled.-VNA