(The following is an excerpt from the latest edition of Partners Magazine, published by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. It features the risk assessment work of Dr. Hung Nguyen, a researcher with A4NH partner, the International Livestock Research Institute.)
Food-borne disease is a major public health issue in Vietnam and other developing countries. In addressing food safety, a balance must be achieved between supplying the population with safe food and protecting the smallholder producers from unreasonable costs of doing so.
Contamination of popular foods in Vietnam, such as pork and vegetables, can occur all along the food value chain—anywhere from farm to fork. But just because a harmful substance or organism is present in food it does not necessarily mean it will cause illness. It is important to understand how and where the real food safety issues arise to work out the best options to prevent food-borne disease.
In Vietnam, risk assessment (RA) is emerging as a useful and innovative approach to manage food safety. This approach assesses the potential harm from disease-causing organisms or substances in food and estimates the likelihood that this harm will actually occur, all along the food pathway. It then identifies the critical points and management strategies that need to be applied to eliminate or minimise the risk.
[Continue the full story, written by Dr. Wendy Henderson, here.]