Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam held a working session on June 24 with representatives of foreign donors and organisations on ensuring food safety and hygiene in Vietnam.

According to the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety and Hygiene Department, in recent years, food safety issue has received special attention by the Vietnamese Party, Government and National Assembly.

In early 2012, the Prime Minister approved a National Strategy on Food Safety for 2011-2020 with a vision to 2030. The strategy aims to equip 70 percent of food farmers, processors, businessmen, 80 percent of managers and 79 percent of consumers with knowledge about food safety and thus adopting corresponding actions by 2015. It also sets the target that all localities put in place their food safety management system and all supermarkets and half of wet markets are monitored in terms of food safety and hygiene by the year.

However, Deputy PM Dam shared with the delegates that at present, 80 percent of food sold at small markets has yet to receive full quarantine, while many farmers are lacking knowledge in using fertilizers, pesticides and growth stimulants.

Therefore, he stressed the importance of narrowing the gap in quality between products sold at supermarkets and markets, controlling the smuggling of pesticides, and growth stimulants, and reorganising food production and distribution systems at markets.

For the long term, Vietnam should speed up the development of a distribution system in supermarket chains and supply chains of farmers, while for the short term, the country should continue installing mobile food testing machines at markets, he suggested.

The Deputy PM also asked Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Industry and Trade to cooperate to improve the efficiency of food safety and hygiene quarantine centres and labs.

Agreeing with his opinions, representatives of foreign donors and organisations hoped for closer coordination between ministries and sectors to ensure the quality and implementation progress of ODA projects and programmes relating to food safety and hygiene.-VNA