10:44 | 21/11/2018 Society
(VEN) - Vietnam has announced clear guidelines for fresh meet to be sold after chilling rather than directly after slaughter. The new standards are expected to create breakthroughs in the domestic meat-processing sector, change consumer preferences and boost exports.
Abattoirs mostly small
According to international standards, chilled meat has to be preserved at no more than seven degrees Celsius immediately after slaughter. In Vietnam, fresh meat is put on the market right after slaughtering, saving cold storage costs but raising hygiene and safety concerns.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimates that up to 90 percent of pork sold on the domestic market is warm pork.
The newly issued standards include requirements for raw materials and technical requirements at each stage of production, storage and distribution to ensure the quality of the chilled meat. The standards stipulate labeling to distinguish between fresh meat and chilled meat.
Those standards will help improve transparency in management and also provide a legal framework for companies producing and trading in these products.
According to Dam Xuan Thanh, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health, 52 of 63 provinces and cities nationwide have approved plans to develop slaughtering facilities. These include 11 localities in the Red River Delta. However, the region has 12,400 small-sized abattoirs, while major slaughtering facilities mostly operate below capacity and cannot compete with small abattoirs.
The situation is similar in the southeastern region, where there are 307 large and small abattoirs. Major slaughtering facilities in this region do not operate at full capacity, either.
A representative of the An Viet Production and Services Trading Joint Stock Company in Hanoi said that although the company had invested tens of billions of dong in its chilled meat processing line, it had utilized a mere 15 percent of its capacity for many years, mostly producing fresh meat.
New consumer trend
Chilled meat products are popular in developed countries, such as in Europe and the US. Authorities in Vietnam hope chilled meat will also catch on domestically with consumers and the meat industry. Chilled meat is an objective of the restructuring of the meat processing industry, which is shifting from small-scale production to an industrial model to meet export criteria.
Nguyen Nhu Tiep, Director of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, said national standards for chilled meat are significant for the animal husbandry sector. In his opinion, product labels are needed to differentiate fresh meat from chilled meat and promote healthy competition among meat producers while enabling consumer access to safe products.
Experts believe state authorities and businesses will have to work hard to make chilled meat familiar to Vietnamese consumers, as well as to create breakthroughs in the domestic slaughter and meat processing industry.
On October 16, 2018, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued Decision 3087/QD-BHCN announcing national
standards for chilled meat, directing the production of safe and high-quality meat for domestic sale and export.