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Street Food Vendors May Be Required to Comply With New Food Safety Regulation

Street food could soon get a thorough cleaning, as new regulations proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade seek to bring food safety standards to Saigon's roadside dining.

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According to Tuoi Tre, city officials have put forth a draft circular which aims to strengthen food safety at small, unregistered businesses such as bánh mì carts, phở stalls and other family-owned spots.

If passed, the new regulations would require street vendors to undergo a routine health check and sign an annual commitment to food safety. Hawkers would also be required to verify their knowledge of food safety, though it is unclear how this certification would be carried out.

According to Dr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, director-general of the Vietnam Food Administration, Vietnam already has clear guidelines on how to operate a street food stall. These include serving food away from polluted areas, using clean water to sanitize utensils and letting customers know the origin of the meal's ingredients.

In practice, however, street vendors do not always comply with food safety regulations. As one former ministry official points out, the new food safety regulations could be beneficial to consumers, however enforcing these laws may be easier said than done.

“The document includes some management measures that lack effectiveness and can be easily dodged by businesses,” he told Tuoi Tre.

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