Farmers and other actors in
agribusiness need to embrace the science behind food practices and instil a
new safety conscious culture, speakers told delegates at a recent forum in Ho
Chi Minh City.
Accepting the science behind microbiologically safe
fruit and vegetables is a first step to creating a safer food environment in
all of agriculture, said Le Van Banh, a department head at the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development.
produce are raw agricultural commodities that are far too often consumed
within the country without being subjected to a scientifically grounded
practice to effectively destroy pathogens or detect excessive harmful
contamination can occur at every stage in the food supply chain, Mr Banh
underlined, adding that fruit, vegetables and other produce are only as
protected as the weakest link in the supply chain.
It is the
responsibility of whoever produces the food to maintain its integrity, he
told delegates, emphasizing that every business in the fresh produce industry
has a duty to ensure consumers that the country’s farm produce is free of
harmful pesticides and insecticides.
participants need to follow practices that science dictates will guarantee they
are maintaining the highest standard of food safety within their
organization. Mr Banh urged business owners to protect themselves and their
market by embracing science.
food safety culture within a business and throughout the fresh produce supply
chain is imperative because all the factors that contribute to foodborne
illnesses originate from human error.
agriculture segment can’t eliminate foodborne illnesses in their entirety but
they can limit the number of individual instances that occur and contain
epidemics from breaking out, added Mr Banh.
company should employ staff that understand food safety so that they can ask
the right questions and guarantee that the importance of food safety is
communicated to all employees in a variety of media.
Hong Thu, director of Chanh Thu Co. Ltd headquartered in Ben Tre Province in
turn suggested delegates be the catalyst for implementing GlobalGAP or
VietGAP standards throughout the supply chain.
Mr Thu noted
that currently exports are high but profits are extremely low due to food
fruit and vegetable stands little chance of making any long-term and
sustainable entry into the lucrative US or EU markets as it now stands,
because of consumer food safety concerns.
business owners must take the initiative to compel as well as educate their
employees and introduce a no-nonsense policy towards food safety within their
must get the message that unsafe food practices are unacceptable and will not
be tolerated, emphasized Mr Thu.
Mr Thu noted
his agreement with Mr Banh on the issue of communication to implement a
culture of food safety. That communication must be rapid, reliable, relevant
and repeated often to workers through all kinds of media outlets if the
effort is to succeed, he noted.
mentality of labourers, employees and salaried staff throughout the entire
supply chain is the best way to combat poor safety standards and will without
question limit the occurrences of foodborne illnesses.
should make food safety a part of their branding, said other speakers, adding
that they ought to have routine inspections and make the results of those
that the government GlobalGAP or VietGAP safety standards are the minimum
requirements and businesses must be creative and innovative, aiming to exceed
these requirements, serving as a win/win for their business, the agriculture
segment and ultimately the consumers.
from every player in every supply chain is needed to make sure food is kept
as safe as possible and this story needs to be shared with consumers around
the globe to make a compelling incentive for them to purchase produce from
line is that agriculture needs to live and breathe science – day in and day
out – if it is to be profitable and sustainable, they concluded.