Vietnamese food safety must improve, say experts

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

Vietnamese food safety needs to be improved as part of wider
modernisation requirements, according to officials from both home
and abroad.

While the safety of Vietnamese food will concern processors importing its produce, the shortcomings could present companies aiming to operate in the region with investment opportunities. Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy head of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that some changes made in the added-value system of farm produce, rather than simply focusing on quantity of output, according to​ Joseph Ekman, an expert with the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in Australia said that, in order to enter the World Trade Organisation successfully, Vietnamese food must be able meet the food hygiene and safety requirements of Good Agricultural Practice, according to ​Fruit and vegetables represent the largest imported and export foods within the WTO, with an estimated value of about US$103bn per year. Vietnam, which joined the WTP six month ago, has been heavily reliant of China for fruit and vegetable export market. Exports of rice and coffee have each declined to an estimated US$10bn per year, while exports of other agricultural products like tea, cashew nuts and pepper have been the worst hit, and currently worth about US$3 billion per annum. Earlier this month a project to improve the quality of food production in Ho Chin Minh (HCM), was announced local administration. Over the next four years, the HCM City's People's Committee, plans to reduce low quality intensive labour industries in favour of high-tech industrial processes, including food processing. According to government predictions, Vietnam expects a sharp increase in direct foreign investment in 2007, with spending on new projects to rise by 17.6 per cent. Phan Huu Thang, director of the country's foreign investment agency, said government expects overseas companies to spend $16bn in Vietnam this year.

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, South East Asia

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