Half of vegetables, fruits, and seafood at Vietnamese wholesale markets are contaminated

The Ho Chi Minh City Food Safety Management Board has recently announced that nearly 50 percent of vegetables and fruits collected from wholesale markets had a lot of residues of pesticides, including banned chemicals.      

Similar shocking results have been found in seafood, as more than 40% of samples were contaminated with cadmium, with mostly squid and octopus samples exceeding the allowable limits. The situation did not look any better considering farmed seafood, as many of the samples had residues of antibiotics banned from use.    

The Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Control Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development immediately issued an official request to recalculate the results for ensuring the accuracy of the published data and to avoid a setback in exports.    

Recently, EU countries have issued many warnings against Vietnam’s foodstuff (e.g. black pepper, cinnamon powder, grapefruit, rambutan, and dragon fruit). However, it is not possible - and ethically acceptable – to focus only on exports and ignore the health of domestic consumers.    

It’s a long time now, Vietnamese consumers have been worried about the safety of their food, as local markets and stores do not have a quality monitoring system. Moreover, restaurants and food processing facilities are often unhygienic and seem to not care about the negative effects of using additives and chemicals in foodstuff.    

Sharing information about food safety and implementing control practices must be a priority to ensure the safety of local consumers and the economy, given that Vietnam heavily relies on exports of vegetables and agricultural products.