Hanoi’s fresh fruit and vegetables meet food safety and hygiene standards, an official of the city’s Department of Plant Protection (DPP) has affirmed.

DPP Deputy Director Nguyen Hong Anh told reporters on July 30 that examinations on the city’s fruit and vegetables between January and July 2013 show only seven out of 727 tested samples (about 1 percent) had their pesticide residues exceeding the permitted level.

As many as 473 of 600 samples tested randomly were contaminated with heavy metals but still under the permitted levels set by the Health Ministry, he said.

According to him, Hanoi is expanding safe vegetable farming as it not only brings higher income to farmers but also ensures safety for consumers’ health and protects the environment.

To date, the city has set up 31 safe vegetable areas, covering up to 2,080 ha, and will expand the area in the future in hopes to provide safe vegetables for the capital residents.

In 2013, Hanoi set a plan to develop its VietGAP-standarised safe vegetable area to 150 ha, including 14-15 ha of organic vegetables, he added.

However, the safe vegetable farming is facing many challenges such as small production, inconvenient technology transfer, high prices, and slow consumption.

The Hanoi Department of Plant Protection has coordinated with localities and businesses in labeling “Hanoi Safe Vegetable” on items sold at shops, markets, and supermarkets in order to help consumers easily recognise those best for them.-VNA