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Celeb. Chef, Bobby Chinn's Crusade for Safer Food in Vietnam

Vietnam may have some of the best food in the world but the country has recently struggled with food safety issues. Over the past few months, stories about tainted noodles and street drinks have been popping up in the local media, raising concerns among the public. A recent article from VOA News profiles celebrity chef, Bobby Chinn, who is trying to raise awareness about both food safety and sustainable fishing in Vietnam.

Chinn, famous for his televised cooking shows and high-end restaurants in Saigon and Hanoi has just launched a "responsible seafood menu" which uses ingredients that are sourced through producers that employ environmentally friendly and sustainable methods.

And, like many locals, Chinn is concerned with the safety of staples such as rice noodles:

"Recently in Vietnam we discovered that 80 percent of the noodles were laced with toxic chemicals to keep them white. So it’s really time for a change.”

Proper labeling of food is another piece of the safety puzzle, an area that Vietnam is failing in miserably, according to Chinn:

“What I’m experiencing as a chef of 18 years is I have no idea where any of the products are coming from. You can say the beef is from the U.S. and has a stamp on it but it might not be."

While the country focuses on exporting high quality products, lack of local certification procedures and poor enforcement mean that pesticides and chemicals often go undetected.

Chinn said that all he can do is hope that his suppliers are operating on the level:

"I only have a handful of suppliers and I keep my fingers crossed that they are going to provide me with what I ask them to provide me. But every restaurant, every hotel, every consumer has the exact same problem.” 

We applaud Chinn's push for safety standards but wonder how effective his crusade will be. Perhaps his star power can help force the issue with Vietnamese authorities. 


Related Articles:

- Study: Majority of Street Drinks Contain Harmful Bacteria and Heavy Metals

- 75% of Pho Noodles in Saigon Found to Contain Cancer-Causing Chemicals


[VOA News // Photo via Inquirer]

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