School food vendors seek other buyers

Monday, Jul 16, 2018 08:30

A shop selling vegetables and fruits at Ben Thanh Market. — VNS File Photo

Suppliers of foods to pre-schools in HCM City are scrambling to join food distribution chains due to fears that unattached sellers would have their contracts terminated.

State pre-schools in Districts 3 and 5 have been piloting a food “safety chain” starting this school year, which requires food suppliers to be members of distribution chains or source their foods from such chains.

According to Dao Van Duc, deputy chairman of the Phuoc An Production and Service Coop based in the city’s Binh Chanh District, said the co-operative has received orders from sellers who supply food to pre-schools in the district.

Its products are in demand because they come with distribution chain certification, and it has mapped out expansion plans, he said.

Đức said schools need many kinds of foods including rice, vegetables, fruits, meat, and eggs while there are few suppliers with distribution chain certificates.

A number of food suppliers are pushing back saying pre-schools should buy food that has quality certification like VietGAP, GlobalGAP, ISO, and HACCP rather than distribution chain certification.

Applied for fresh food

The trial of the food safety chain at pre-schools is part of an agreement signed by the HCM City Food Safety Management Board and the city Department of Education and Training to ensure food safety at schools.

The agreement encourages buying foods not just with distribution chain certification but also quality certification like HACCP, ISO 22000: 2005, VietGAP, and GlobalGAP.

However, some food suppliers and preschools mistakenly believe that only food from distribution chains are acceptable, Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourers) newspaper reported.

This is also the reason why many food suppliers and shops selling sweet egg custard, dumpling and milk have applied to join distribution chains, afraid they might lose their contracts otherwise.

Le Minh Hai, deputy chief of the HCM City Food Safety Management Board, has written to the Department of Education and Training saying certification would be required soon for fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs and aquaculture products but not for processed foods.

According to the board, it has granted 203 distribution chain certificates to 109 individuals and organisations who can supply 94,000 tonnes of food a year.

These include over 48,000 tonnes of pork, 17,000 tonnes of chicken, nearly 6,500 tonnes of cow and buffalo meat, over 16.4 tonnes of vegetables and fruits, and 519 million chicken eggs.

They buy the products from renowned producers and distributors such as Vissan, Sagrifood, Ba Huan Egg, Vinh Thanh Dat, CP, VinEco Vegetables, and Phuoc An, Nga Ba Giong and Phu Loc co-operatives.

The list of food suppliers possessing distribution chain certificates is published on the board’s website.—VNS

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