Technology transfer: Vietnam food safety systems upgraded with help from South Korea
South Korea has been assisting Vietnam to develop a new food safety management system since the Korea-Vietnam Summit in 2018, with the project being parked under the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme, where it provides aid to developing countries to promote economic development and social welfare.
“The project [is mutually beneficial for both countries] – South Korea will improve our international status by sharing our information technology (IT)-based food and drug safety management experience in Vietnam, [whereas] Vietnam gets access to an advanced system,” the ministry said via an official statement.
“The project is being rolled out across four stages, with Stages One and Two focused on the establishment of the food management system itself, and Stages Three and Four will be on focused on system operations and stabilisation.
“As of March 2022, we have completed Stages One and Two of this project to establish the system in Vietnam alongside an information portal for the public to access necessary food safety information [and] will have presented this to the Vietnam Food Administration.”
The system is based on MFDS’ own integrated food safety management system which includes an integrated food safety information network, a laboratory information management system, a public information portal and an overall administrative portal.
“The idea was to develop the system in accordance with the local Vietnamese situation [based] on local needs, in the Vietnamese language, and provide this to the local government,” said MFDS.
“In particular, the ‘Food Poisoning Occurrence Online Reporting (part of the national infectious diseases sentinel surveillance system)’ is expected to be one of the most important developments for Vietnam in helping to strengthen local food safety management.”
Apart from providing the technology for these project as software, applications and systems, Korea will also be supporting Vietnam with the hardware and training to utilise these.
“[In order to ensure the systems can be fully utilised], support for a total of 105 electronic products -including 13 servers and 80 laptops – will also be provided to Vietnam,” said the ministry.
For the next two phases of the project, MFDS will be looking to provide further support in terms of fine-tuning it further for local use, as well as conveying all the expertise required for future independent utilisation.
“The focus will be on further improving the systems, and transferring the relevant operational experience, so as to ensure that the system can be not only rolled out by the Vietnamese government, but also used to improve the local food and beverage industry,” said the ministry.
“MFDS will also continue to actively seek out ODA projects in the field of food and drug safety and further expand our efforts in this so as to contribute more concretely to the advancement of food safety systems in more developing countries.”