​Illustrative image (Photo: alotrip.com)

HCM City (VNA) - Vinacafé Bien Hoa Joint Stock Company has announced that starting this month it will only produce authentic coffee products that do not use any soy additives.

It is part of its commitment under a memorandum of transparency in coffee manufacturing and protection of consumer rights initiated by the Vietnam Standard and Consumers Association (Vinastas), the company said.

At a ceremony held late last month in Hanoi attended by Government officials and the media, Vinacafé Bien Hoa was the first coffee manufacturer to sign the memorandum, followed by Nestlé.

The two pledged to state full, honest and clear information about the ingredients they use and product quality on their labels and packages and not use banned chemicals and additives.

At a seminar titled “Dirty Coffee – Reality and Solution” held in HCM City earlier, Nguyen Tan Ky, CEO of Vinacafé, said: “Vinacafé Bien Hoa will … absolutely ensure that we are producing authentic coffee products as soon as possible.

“We are doing this in response to the transparency needs for the ingredients in our coffee products. By doing so, we hope to enhance the quality and foster the reputation of Vietnamese coffee.

“The fact that most coffee consumed by the Vietnamese population is questionable and that the domestic coffee market lacks transparency makes us wonder if the Vietnamese do not push for change who else can we depend on.”

He promised that from August 1 Vinacafé Bien Hoa would conform to the most stringent coffee purity and quality standards and not use soy additives.

According to Vinastas, alongside a legitimate business that makes Vietnam one of the world’s leading coffee exporters, there exists an almost secret industry which mixes soybeans and corn with coffee and puts the mixture into packs labelled ‘100 percent pure coffee.’

A recent study by Vinastas found that more than 30 percent of the coffee consumed daily in HCM City, Hanoi, Binh Duong, and Soc Trang has little or no caffeine.

Most of it was found in sidewalk and small cafés.

For the study, 253 black coffee samples were taken from the four cities and provinces in June and July.
They were randomly taken from various places, including coffeehouses, small cafés, hospital canteens, sidewalk cafés, and mobile coffee carts, according to Vinastas.

Analysis of the samples found 30.04 percent had a caffeine content of less than one gramme per litre.

Five had no caffeine at all.

The normal rate in instant coffee is more than six grammes.

Vuong Ngoc Tuan, deputy general secretary of Vinastas, said the study only looked at the low-cost coffee segment.

It would carry out the study at more locations in the coming time, and examine other quality parameters rather than just the caffeine content, he said.

Inspections have even found two facilities in HCM City adding fish sauce to coffee powder.
Coffee without caffeine possibly indicates a mixture of various chemicals that could be harmful to health.-VNA