Vegetables stacked on shelves at the Aeon mall in Long Bien district, Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The domestic agriculture industry should be restructured and made more transparent to develop clean food products, experts said at a seminar on developing clean food held on August 23 in Hanoi.

At the seminar, Truong Dinh Tuyen, formerly trade minister, said demand for clean food had increased in the local market because experts had given warnings about the quality of food.

State agencies had fined people using banned chemical products to feed poultry, cattle and fisheries and to grow fruit and vegetables, but the State could not inspect all the tens of millions of business households and inspections alone could not completely solve the problem of food quality, Tuyen said.

"The most important thing is to restructure the agricultural industry to comprehensively solve food quality problems", he said.

In the process of international integration, Vietnam still has food that does not reach the standards of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), so local firms cannot take full advantage of free trade agreements with foreign partners to export food products, according to Tuyen. Urgent measures are needed to produce clean food not only for export, but also for domestic consumption.

Tuyen proposed a comprehensive restructuring of the agricultural industry. The industry would become multi-functional to ensure food safety and security, create ecological regions and protect the health of the people. The agricultural sector would become the industry for producing clean rice, food, fruit and vegetable products.

To restructure successfully, the agricultural industry should focus on land and the application of science and technology, he said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vu Van Tam, said to transport safe food to customers, one of the important things was to enhance the connection between enterprises producing clean and safe food products and consumers.

In addition, the seminar was a chance for the ministry to collect opinions on the development of clean food products and it would then review policies and mechanisms to encourage investment in enterprises that produce clean food products, Tam said.

Meanwhile, TH Group Chairwoman Thai Huong said the most important thing in developing clean foods was transparency and fair competition in the local market.

She said existing sanctions were not strong enough to stop violations in developing food, fruit and vegetable products.

For the dairy industry, it was expected that the State would soon have standards for dairy products and all information about the standards must be written on dairy product labels. That would help customers choose clean products.

She also said the State should reform policies to encourage enterprises to invest in technology in the agricultural industry to produce more safe food products because existing policies were not suitable and had not encouraged investment from enterprises in agriculture.

The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Soha News, and attracted more than 500 participants and experts from state offices and enterprises.-VNA