After one-year implementation of a street food model ensuring food safety, businesspeople's awareness has gradually improved.
Le Thi Hoa (selling cooked food on Binh Loc street, Hai Duong city) has raised her awareness about hygiene after participating in the model
Business habits change
The street food model has been implemented since May 2019. The provincial Sub-department of Food Safety and Hygiene jointly surveyed and chose 12 spots in the district towns of Tu Ky, Gia Loc, Thanh Mien, Ninh Giang, Thanh Ha, and Nam Sach, the wards of Tan Binh (Hai Duong city), Sao Do (Chi Linh), and An Luu (Kinh Mon), and the communes of Co Dung (Kim Thanh), Tan Truong (Cam Giang), and Trang Liet (Binh Giang) to carry out the model with the participation of 1,300 people.
Most spots are located on streets, in alleys and crowded places.
Vu Thi Oanh, Head of the Health Station of Sao Do ward (Chi Linh), said there were 87 out of nearly 130 street food business households in the ward involved in the model.
The households were trained in food safety knowledge, signed commitments when taking part in the model, and are entitled to periodic medical checkups. They have changed many habits and raised awareness.
Selling rice vermicelli and noodles on Tran Hung Dao street, Sao Do ward, Le Thi Duyen said previously, after customers had finished eating, tablewares were washed and used again, pots were blackened by soot from coal stoves, etc.
Since participating in the model and being counseled by appropriate authorities, she has switched to cooking with electric stoves, using tablewares only once a day and dipping them in boiling water, and picking up cooked and raw food with separate chopsticks. Duyen has formed a habit of taking bills whenever buying food to know its origin in case of food poisoning.
Le Thi Hoa, selling cooked food on Binh Loc street, Tan Binh ward (Hai Duong city), said: "Joining in the street food model made me aware of wearing a face mask, an apron, and gloves whenever processing food, using clean water for food processing, and buying food from fixed facilities."
Similarly, Nguyen Thi Thom, selling bread, steamed glutinous rice, and sugar-cane juice on Tran Nhan Tong street, Thanh Ha district town, said previously, she did not have the habit of wearing gloves and a face mask when selling goods, bread was placed on a table, there was no cabinet, and sugar-cane was put in a bucket after chopping, so flies and bluebottles often swarmed over them. After participation in the model, she bought a glass cabinet to keep food, a juicer, cups to contain sugar-cane juice, etc.
Small rain lays great dust
Nguyen Huu Tuong, Head of the Health Station of Tan Binh ward (Hai Duong city), said there were about 160 households trading in street food in the area.
All households engaged in the model properly follow instructions and propaganda of appropriate authorities with clear changes.
In his opinion, the model should be multiplied to all wards in Hai Duong city.
Sharing the same viewpoint, Nguyen Ngoc Thang, Head of the Health Station of Thanh Ha district town, believed that the model should be multiplied to streets and crowded places in the district.
Aside from the positive aspects, there remain difficulties in implementing the street food model. There were times only half of the summoned business households attended training sessions, then medical workers had to go to their houses for mobilization and distribution of propaganda leaflets. Some households stopped doing business shortly after being included in the model participation list.
Thoroughly grasping the motto "Small rain lays great dust," appropriate authorities consider propaganda and reminding as priority solutions and attach much importance to checking the implementation of the commitments signed by business households to overcome the difficulties.
Nguyen Huu Tuong, Head of Health Station of Tan Binh ward, added that the provincial Sub-department of Food Safety and Hygiene had provided each model spot in the ward with one quick test kit on food safety.
In 2019, an inter-sector team of the ward inspected facilities, quickly tested some foodstuffs, and found one facility selling pork pies with high borax residues.
At the end of this May, the ward authorities will organize one training session on food safety and periodic medical checkups for all business households.
According to Tran Dinh Nam, Head of the provincial Sub-department of Food Safety and Hygiene, the unit has so far held 12 direct communication sessions, distributed propaganda leaflets and materials, disseminated knowledge of and legal documents on food safety, good personal hygiene practices, and 10 principles in safe food processing to many facility owners and those directly involved in food production and trading participating in the model.
In the coming time, the sub-department will summarize and multiply the model in the area.