Translating food safety research into policy action in Vietnam

The agri-food sector, particularly livestock, plays an important role in the economy, livelihoods and nutritional security of Vietnamese people. Regular consumption of pork makes it an integral part of Vietnam’s diverse and rich culinary tradition. Typically eaten daily with steamed rice and vegetables, pork is an affordable as well as favourite protein source, accounting for 40% of household expenditure and 75% of the meat consumed. More than 83% of pork is produced by small-scale farmers and sold in traditional fresh-food markets, and 65% of rural households depend on pig farming for their livelihoods.

Rising urbanization and a growing middle class have driven changes in dietary patterns, leading to increased pork consumption. In recent years, the Vietnamese government has acknowledged scope for evidence-based decision making in reducing the prevalence of food-borne disease in traditional markets. Improved safety in the food supply chain has the potential not only to protect the health and welfare of poor livestock producers, sellers and consumers, but also to grow the economy through the increased competitiveness of Vietnam’s food products and the opening of premium markets. Conversely, food safety hazards— or perceptions thereof—impose a significant economic burden, impeding value chain development and exports. . . .