Hanoi tightens food standards

HANOI, 10 February 2017: Hanoi’s Department of Health will deploy mobile food laboratories to test for unsafe food sold at restaurants and by street vendors during the traditional spring festivals.

Local media quoted the department director, Nguyen Khac Hien, saying inspection teams, would take random samples of food at restaurants and food stalls operating during the February festival period.

The crackdown is part of a campaign to improve the quality and food safety at food stalls that are popular with tourists.

inside no 3Perfume Pagoda Festival in My Duc district, welcomes thousands of tourists each day during the festival and the district has been identified as a priority for spot checks.

The mobile testing labs can identify chemicals, or bacteria, within 30 minutes or two hours at the longest to allow inspectors to close premises almost immediately if there is evidence of contamination.

Previously, the department required all food businesses to sign a letter of commitment to follow the regulations on food hygiene and safety.

Last weekend, teams inspected 23 food businesses at Den Va Festival in Son Tay Township. All 10 samples of noodles and five samples of chili sauce met the food hygiene and safety’s requirements. However, only 22 out of 55 bowls were found to meet hygiene standards, the report said. Often street food locations do not have a clean water supply to wash bowls and utensils.

Last month, the Ministry of Health’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department inspected food businesses in 42 cities and provinces. More than 2,300 businesses were found to have violated regulations.  They paid total fines of nearly USD361,940. As many as 22 businesses were forced to close.

Hanoi’s tourism sector, this year, will attract 23.39 million visitors, including 4.08 million foreign tourists, with a forecasted revenue of USD2.89 billion, according to the Municipal Tourism Department.

It reported that the capital city welcomed 21.8 million visitors in 2016, including 4 million foreigners, earning USD2.72 billion, up 13% year on year.