Measures to prevent food poisoning at schools in HCM City was discussed on May 10 at a meeting about food safety in 2017-2019 period held by the Food Safety Management Board and the Department of Education and Training.
HCM City has 1,974 nursery, primary, secondary and high schools with 2,314 catering facilities for schools from school canteens to catering facilities.
From 2015 to 2016, 13 food poisoning cases occurred across the city, affecting 807 people. From 2017 to 2018, there were seven cases with 129 poisoned people. Among them, there were a total of five cases at schools with 178 poisoned children from 2016 to 2018.
In April, 60 pupils at a primary school in District 12 were hospitalised because of food poisoning. Many parents have raised concerns about food quality at schools in HCM City in recent years.
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the Food Safety Management Board, said they had inspected 426 catering facilities for schools after the establishment in 2018 and dealt with seven violators, collecting over VND100m (USD4,300) in fines.
According to Lan, fresh ingredients is the deciding factor. Businesses also often cut corners on ingredients. Lack of monitoring during the storage and cooking process has also been blamed for low-quality food, especially when summer has come.
"The ingredients must have clear origins and meet VietGAP or GlobalGAP standards," Lan said. "We'll continue carrying out inspections and train employees on how to deal with violations. Those who commit serious violations will be strictly punished."