Get a stool sample it may improve your food safety knowledge in Vietnam

Consumption of fast food and street food is increasingly common among Vietnamese, particularly in large cities. The high daily demand for these convenient food services, together with a poor management system, has raised concerns about food hygiene and safety (FHS). This study aimed to examine the FHS knowledge and practices of food processors and sellers in food facilities in Hanoi, Vietnam, and to identify their associated factors.

A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,760 food processors and sellers in restaurants, fast food stores, food stalls, and street vendors in Hanoi in 2015. We assessed each participant’s FHS knowledge using a self-report questionnaire and their FHS practices using a checklist. Tobit regression was used to determine potential factors associated with FHS knowledge and practices, including demographics, training experience, and frequency of health examination.

Overall, we observed a lack of FHS knowledge among respondents across three domains, including standard requirements for food facilities (18%), food processing procedures (29%), and food poisoning prevention (11%). Only 25.9 and 38.1% of participants used caps and masks, respectively, and 12.8% of food processors reported direct hand contact with food. After adjusting for socioeconomic characteristics, these factors significantly predicted increased FHS knowledge and practice scores: (i) working at restaurants and food stalls, (ii) having FHS training, (iii) having had a physical examination, and (iv) having taken a stool test within the last year.

These findings highlight the need of continuous training to improve FHS knowledge and practices among food processors and food sellers. Moreover, regular monitoring of food facilities, combined with medical examination of their staff, should be performed to ensure food safety.

Evaluating food safety knowledge and practices of food processors and seller working in food facilities in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 2018

Journal of Food Protection, vol 81, no 4


Vietnamese sandwich downs more than 300 in Bataan

More than 300 people were treated for suspected food poisoning after they ate Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich.

Morong municipal health officer, Dr. Emma Bugay, said Friday that 160 were admitted to the municipal health center while 160 others were treated in dispensaries.

“They were vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. All of them ate Banh Mi. Some victims who came from remote areas were feeling so weak,” the doctor said.

Banh Mi, Vietnamese for bread, consists of a baguette with tomato, cucumber, onion, homemade liver, pork and butter, among others. It is Vietnam’s most recognized food after “pho”.

Bugay said Morong is noted for the sandwich and not only visitors but even local folks patronize the stores selling it.

Morong Mayor Cynthia Estanislao ordered the closure of Banh-Mian ni Raven, a store near the municipal hall, where all the victims bought the sandwich from, while an investigation was ongoing.

Attempt by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) to contact the owners in their house in Morong failed.

Bugay, however, said that according to the store owner, the 300 sandwiches they prepared for the day were all sold out.

She said Banh Mi is big and is often shared by two persons so she estimated that not only 300 persons were affected.

Vaccines work: Backpacker, 25, left bedridden in Vietnam after sampling iced coffee

Sinead MacLaughlin of the Daily Mail reports a simple sip from an iced coffee containing contaminated ice cubes left one backpacker bed-ridden in excruciating pain while on holiday.

ice-vietnam-sophiaInstead of seeing the stunning sights of Vietnam and lying on the beach with her friends, Sophia Brockman, 25, spent half of her holiday lying in the fetal position in bed.

‘We knew we weren’t supposed to be drinking the iced drinks but we wanted to have cocktails and try the ice coffee and street food that South-East Asia is famous for’, she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

‘I would totally say that we had a YOLO [you only live once] attitude during this trip,’ Ms Brockman said. 

The Sydney ex-pat, originally from the US, was forced to spend $300 on antibiotics after coming down with severe food poisoning from the tainted coffee.

But despite the serious pain she was in, the 25-year-old says it could have been a lot worse considering she wasn’t vaccinated before the trip.  

A survey of 1004 travelers by pharmaceutical company Sanofi found that Australians often take unnecessary risks when it comes to their safety by eating street vendors food and sleeping outdoors.

One-third prioritised travel insurance over vaccinations.

‘It’s quite common for travelers to think they’re safe if they’ve traveled to the destination before, or that travel insurance is enough protection and vaccinations aren’t needed,’ travel health specialist Dr Sarah Chu told the Sydney Morning Herald. 

‘But I can assure you the risk of falling sick is very real and can happen to anyone.’ 


Vietnamese factory workers go home early after refusing worms for lunch

Thousands of workers at a Chinese garment firm in Ho Chi Minh City went without lunch, on Saturday, after some reportedly found worms in their soup.

worm-soupAccording to a story that appeared in Thanh Nien newspaper, on Sunday, a number of workers at the Worldon Company in Cu Chi District vomited at the sight of the worms.

The company sent everyone home early that afternoon after a number of workers fainted and others complained of exhaustion.

This wasn’t the first sign of trouble at Worldon’s canteen.

On October 29, a lunch of ground fish, shrimp, stir-fried vegetables and cabbage soup sent 109 employees to the hospital.

Doctors held seven of the workers overnight to treat them for severe food poisoning.

In May, dozens of workers became ill after another bad lunch.

Worldon Vietnam is owned by Shenzhou International, a Chinese clothing manufacturer based in Zhejiang Province in eastern China. The company employs more than 6,000 workers.

60 sickened: Fast food chain Lotteria Vietnam fined for poisoning

Ho Chi Minh City has fined South Korean-owned fast food chain Lotteria Vietnam VND146 million (US$6,600) for a mass poisoning case that sent 60 people to hospital last week.

foodpoisoning_TABVA statement from the city’s health department said many workers at Sonion Vietnam, a Danish company at the city’s Hi-tech Park, started to show food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after lunch on March 12.

Local media reported their meals, including beef, omelet and vegetable soup, were provided by Lotteria. A total of 60 workers had to be rushed to hospitals in District 9 and the neighboring Thu Duc District.

Cong An TPHCMC newspaper said inspectors have found violations at three Lotteria stores, ranging from lack of food safety certificates to inadequate food preservation equipment.


Vietnam restaurant throws leftovers at unhappy diners, found operating without food safety certificate

A restaurant in a coastal resort city in south-central Vietnam, notorious for hurling leftovers at unsatisfied diners recently, has not been certified for food safety.

Nhat TrangNhat Trang, the seafood restaurant located in Nha Trang, the capital city of Khanh Hoa Province, proved no certification for food safety, Nguyen Sy Khanh, deputy chairman of the local People’s Committee, said on Wednesday.

An inspection was conducted by local officials under Khanh’s direction the same day.

Neither an authorized qualification related to food safety nor official contracts on laboring of the venue were available, according to the investigation’s result.

Such attempts were made not only in Nha Trang, but throughout the entire province of Khanh Hoa to rectify food service issues, namely price increasing by restaurateurs and lack of ethical manners in serving guests, said Tran Son Hai, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

The restaurant was reported to local officials by two diners on Monday after one of its staff members splashed them with leftover food after they expressed disappointment with their meal.

Vietnam voters express food safety worries to President

Food hygiene and safety and the level of public debts were two major concerns voters in HCM City’s District 4 expressed during their meeting with State President Truong Tan Sang and the city’s National Assembly members on Sunday. Trong Nhuong told Sang that he was greatly worried at seeing people use prohibited agents in cattle and vegetable farming, and since it would affect people’s health, the Government should take steps to stop it.

Authorities should enforce the Law on Food Hygiene and Safety from the farm to the processing plant, and top leaders should be held accountable in places where unsafe food is found, he said.

Another voter, Chung Cuong Sanh, said he was disappointed with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development’s reply to a question about food hygiene and safety at the recent session of the National Assembly.

After hearing from the public, the President said food safety is among the top issues concerning people, admitting the situation is becoming increasingly serious despite regular inspection by authorities.

The blame game: Factory worker lunches in Vietnam edition

According to Thanhnien News, 33 outbreaks resulting in over 2000 cases of foodborne illness have been linked to cheap, work-provided lunches in Vietnam this year, including one a couple of weeks ago. National health officials blame poor local oversight over kitchens.

Nice support from folks that are supposed to work together.

Lunch for workers at a shoe factory in Binh Duong Province is mostly rice and a little pork and vegetables.P1030832

The mass food poisoning suffered by 441 workers at the factory on October 21 was a reminder of the unhealthy factory lunches provided in Vietnam, which has been a major cause of wildcat strikes and the fact that its productivity is among the lowest in the world.

Truong Thi Bich Hanh, vice chairwoman of the Labor Union in Binh Duong, an industrial hub with 150,000 companies, said at least 8 percent of them pay only around 40 cents for a worker’s meal, or less than half the price of a cheap meal at a street eatery.

At least 33 cases of mass food poisoning involving 2,302 people, most of them factory workers, have been reported across the country this year.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, head of the food safety department at the health ministry, said the cost of the meal is too low to ensure quality.

“Low-quality ingredients easily suffer bacterial or toxic contamination,” Phong said, adding that some kitchens even use ingredients that are already spoiled.

He also blamed local authorities for failing to monitor hygiene in factory kitchens, many of which are open for a long time before receiving any food safety and hygiene checks.

224 sick with Salmonella in Vietnam

Banh my (Vietnamese bread) contaminated with Salmonella bacteria supplied by a bakery in this central province has been identified as the cause of the poisoning of 224 locals.

banh.myThe province’s food hygiene and safety department yesterday announced that banh my sold by Vuong Tien Thanh Bakery had been contaminated with the bacteria, forcing consumers to rush to hospitals last Wednesday.

Samples taken from the bakery and the contents of the victims’ stomachs tested positive for the bacteria.

Suspected food poisoning affects 48 Vietnam workers

Forty-eight workers at an industrial zone in the northern Nam Dinh Province were rushed to a military health centre yesterday afternoon, after they fell ill with food poisoning symptoms.

Tin Phát CompanyThe workers reportedly showed symptoms of stomach pain, headache, vomiting and diarrhea after they had lunch provided by the Ha Noi-based Tin Phát Company.

Initial investigation showed that Tin Phat Company provided 3,200 lunch portions to Youngor Smart Shirt Ltd. Co workers on October 6. The portions were distributed over two shifts that began at noon.

After having lunch, several workers showed symptoms of food poisoning and were given first-aid by the company’s health staff.

Then they were moved to the military health centre, 300m from the industrial park.

By 6pm yesterday, all affected workers — of Youngor Smart Shirts Viet Nam Ltd Co in My Trung industrial park in My Loc District — had recovered enough to be sent home to convalesce, a doctor at the health centre said. 

At 10pm yesterday, an inspection team from Nam Dinh Province’s health and hygiene safety departments questioned Youngor Smart Shirts Ltd. Co staff and took food samples from the company’s canteen for testing.