This project aims to develop and evaluate market-based approaches to improving food safety, with the overall aim of reducing the burden of foodborne disease in informal, emerging formal, and niche markets targeting small- and medium-scale producers.
Food safety is a growing concern in Vietnam. Foodborne disease is a major public health problem and a barrier to smallholder farmers who wish to sell in high-value domestic and export markets. Most foodborne disease is due to livestock and fish products or vegetables sold in informal (wet) markets. Pork is the most widely consumed meat, and nearly all is sold in wet markets that have poor food safety standards.
Alternative market approaches to improving food safety aim to change practice in informal markets (e.g. through professionalising street traders rather than removing them). The project believes these approaches are the best bet for improving food safety in mass domestic markets, but much work is needed to adapt them to national contexts and engender support from the public and private sector.
The proposed research builds on the extensive research and networks developed by the LPS/2010/047 PigRISK project, extending the ACIAR-supported research agenda from risk assessment to risk management and communication. As a result of PigRISK, the project partners have become the 'go-to' people for food safety in Vietnam.