Local authorities are still
struggling to ensure the standards of even basic goods such as coffee
following revelations that many coffee shops use entirely synthetic
A factory in Quang Ngai Province was producing fake
coffee. Photo by Phapluatonline
According to the
survey done by the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association, a third of
local coffee products were either of extremely low quality or even completely
fake. The results of the report were announced on July 20 at a conference
discussing the issue in Ho Chi Minh City.
Dinh Van Manh from the Department of Anti-Environmental Crime
Police said the fake coffee was largely a mixture of corn, soybean and flavour
powder. "The market isn’t only flooded with dirty coffee that is produced
in unhygienic conditions, but also fake coffee made from different powders and
sometimes chemicals," he said.
Nguyen Duy Thinh from the Hanoi University of
Science and Technology voiced concern about the potentially carcinogenic
ingredients being used in these cheap coffees. According to Thinh, coffees
cheaper than VND160,000 per kilo were extraordinarily likely to be fake and
could include mouldy corn, soybean and cheap coffee beans that have not been
"Vietnamese people like strong bitter taste
in their black coffee so those ingredients will be over roasted. This is
carcinogenic," he said.
Meanwhile, Le Phan Cafe Company said each person
had different taste and in order to meet market demands, they need various
kinds of products and brands. Representative of Le Phan Cafe Company admitted
that in order to produce cheap coffee brands, they cheated and used grainsand
"We hope the authorities will issue detailed
criteria for coffee products. But the customers must research the formula for themselves
to choose the most suitable products," he said.
instant coffee being sold at Kim Bien Market in HCM City. Photo by nld
Nguyen Huy Quang from the Ministry of Health said they had only
developed a national standard for coffee in the past three years for one of
Vietnam's main export products. However, there were some difficulties. He urged
firms to follow hygiene and food safety standards and be transparent with
Pham Tien Dung from the inspectorate of the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development thought that the punishments were
still far too light for adulterated food and beverages. "They are not
strict enough to act as deterrence so people and firms keep violating
regulations," he said.