09:57 | 07/06/2019 Society
(VEN) - Hanoi’s street food is famous in culinary and tourism circles, but so is their sometimes questionable hygiene. After more than one year of piloting a food safety project in Hanoi, authorities have deemed the results sufficiently positive to merit its expansion in order to ensure consumers’ health.
The model was implemented a year ago to encourage more hygienic street food in eight districts in the capital, including Ba Dinh, Hoan Kiem, Cau Giay, Ha Dong, Long Bien, Thanh Xuan, Tay Ho and Dan Phuong.
Statistics from the Hanoi Department of Health showed that 95 percent of establishments obtained food safety certificates and 85.5 percent of them used foods with clear origin, an increase of 50 percent compared with 2017’s figure.
Nguyen Khac Hien, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health, said, managing street vending was the biggest challenge in building a food safety street model. A number of stalls failed to meet the requirements on infrastructure because they operated on a small scale and the origin of some produce used to make the food was not clear, he said. In addition, a number of consumers still have not got into the habit of throwing waste in the bin.
Regular inspections should be conducted and businesses must be reminded to strictly follow food safety and environmental protection regulations. Due punishment should be imposed on violators, he said.
Cau Giay District focused the project on Duy Tan Street with its 35 food service establishments, serving more than 5,000 visitors a day. After nearly four months of preparation work, the People's Committee of the Dich Vong Hau Ward put up signs saying “Food Safety Street”.
Tran Thi Thu Huong, Vice President of the Dich Vong Hau Ward People's Committee said that in the beginning, the ward faced various difficulties. Some owners of food establishments found it hard to change old habits in order to take part in the pilot. The book keeping requirements vis-à-vis suppliers and customers under the pilot also created problems given the high changeover of owners or locations. Some business households were found lax in ensuring the food safety and hygiene of their food processing areas. In addition, consumer awareness of establishments’ hygiene and food quality was not sufficiently developed.
Nguyen Huu Luan, Deputy Head of Health Department of Dan Phuong District, said the district did not have much choice given that it does not have many food establishments and those that operate are mostly small. After reviewing the problem, the District Food Safety Steering Committee chose Tay Son Street to implement the pilot in 20 food service establishments.
In January, the Hanoi Department of Health cooperated with the health departments of 21 provinces and cities and experts of the Ministry of Health to organize an assessment of the eight streets chosen for the pilot. The review and assessment showed that enterprises, business establishments, food and catering services and especially authorities at different levels must join forces if this important project is to succeed and expand.
|Nguyen Khac Hien, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health: This year, the model will be expanded to six other districts with a view to enhancing food safety control and reducing food poisoning cases and food-borne diseases.|