Toxic chemicals are found in many products in Vietnam, from fresh foods like shrimp, fish, fruit and vegetables to dried ones, seriously affecting human health.
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The Ministry of Industry and Trade said alarm bells have been ringing over smuggled goods and the misuse of pesticides in food production and preservation.
The ministry reported that more than 6,000 violations of food safety regulations were detected in 2015, including a case involving more than 10 tonnes of medicines produced abroad without brand names and another where 550 kg of additives without origin were uncovered in Hanoi.
This year, violations have shown no signs of decreasing but have increased rapidly. In the first three months of this year, more than 4,000 cases were brought to light, a quarter of which involved smuggled food.
According to the Ministry of Health, about 160,000 cases of cancer are recorded in Vietnam each year, with environmental pollution and unhygienic food blamed for many cases.
Aware of the risks of unsafe food, some households have stopped using outdoor catering services and purchased food from trustworthy producers.
Overall though, quality product suppliers have failed to win consumers’ trust and gain a foothold in the domestic market as Vietnamese people have a high demand for green food.
Vo Viet Dung, CEO of South Hanoi Food Processing JSC (SHFPGROUP.,JSC), expressed his concern over the fact that violators did not receive strict punishments.
Given this, he suggested increasing punishments for such violations and stepping up communication to raise public awareness of food safety.
The fight against unhygienic food requires the efforts of the entire political system. Over the years, market management forces have teamed up with competent agencies to cope with smuggled products.
However, their efforts have been futile as the situation is getting worse, sparking public anxiety. ■