Worried about food safety? Vietnamese look again at small-scale organic farming.
For two decades, Thanh was the only fruit vendor on Phan Huy Chu Street, in the heart of Hanoi’s downtown. But last year, a store opened across the street advertising “rau an toan” (safe produce). It was an assurance conspicuously missing from Thanh’s baskets of lychees and mangoes, displayed millimeters from the sidewalk. Until recently, no one in Vietnam was talking about food safety. In the past year, however, it has become front-page news. Rumors about pesticide-contaminated grapes and rotten pork smuggled across the border from China made consumers aware that they no longer knew how and where their food was produced.
People are used to buying from the market and not questioning it. But there’s increasing concern, mostly in urban populations, about where food comes from,” says Dan Dockery, who runs Highway 4, a restaurant chain with locations in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An.
Video: Learning organic farming from Vietnam’s premier farmers