Research for safer pork products in Vietnam

For release on 7 September 2017, 9.00 a.m.

A two-day workshop, 7–8 September 2017, on the topic ‘Improving food safety along the pork value chain—lessons learned and ways forward’, kicked off at the Hanoi Hotel on Thursday morning with an opening address by HE Mr.Chu Van Chuong, Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department of Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In his speech, Mr. Chuong said, ‘We look forward to even further improvements through projects such as those being reviewed today. In the context of food safety, projects like PigRISK and SafePORK are welcome as they can provide policymakers and the public with scientific evidence that leads to actionable policy options to better manage food safety and provide assurance to producers and consumers alike.’

The workshop brings together more than 80 key stakeholders from the livestock, animal health and public health sectors of Vietnam—representatives from donor, government and United Nations agencies, from multilateral and non-government organizations, and from civil society, academia and the private sector—to find ways to make sure that pig production, processing and sale of pork is safer. Pork makes up 75 per cent of all the meat consumed in Vietnam and most of these pork products (83%) are produced by small-scale farmers and are sold in traditional ‘wet’ markets. As pigs can carry high levels of pathogens, ensuring the safety of the country’s pork products is an issue of growing concern among the public and policymakers. Although smallholders involved in pig production are vulnerable to breakdowns in food safety, research through a partnership between the Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH), the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) and the International Livestock Research Institute.

The workshop consists of two parts: (1) the closing (on 7 September) of a project on ‘Reducing disease risks and improving food safety in smallholder pig value chains in Vietnam’, known as PigRISK, and (2) the launching (on 8 September) of a project on ‘Market-based approaches to improving the safety of pork in Vietnam’, known as SafePORK.

Improving food safety along the pork value chain – lessons learned and ways forward Final PigRISK and SafePORK project launching workshop

Workshop group photo (photo credit: ILRI/Chi Nguyen).

In the morning session of the first day, key research findings will be shared by PigRISK scientists regarding pork value chain characteristics, animal health and food safety assessments, and more specifically pork-related hazards and risks and the costs of foodborne diseases in humans. In the afternoon session, the participants will discuss actionable policy to better manage food safety along Vietnam’s pig value chains.

On the second day of the workshop, the new SafePORK project—its objectives, approaches and outputs—will be introduced. Experts will share their experiences of promising food safety interventions in developing-country contexts and of promising food safety initiatives in Vietnam. Before concluding with the best ways forward, the workshop participants will also have a chance to discuss ‘risk communications’—which experts believe have particular potential to strengthen pork safety in Vietnam.

Recommendations from the workshop will be followed up by the SafePORK project team over the next five years (2017–2022).

To see more photos please visit ILRI Flickr.


Media contacts

ILRI: Chi Nguyen, communications officer,, +84 (0)936 066 152

For the editor

The PigRISK project (June 2012¬–September 2017) provides in-depth assessments for animal health and food safety risk (chemical and biological hazards) along the small-scale pig value chain for Hung Yen and Nghe An provinces. Some of these assessments (such as estimates of the actual consumer risks of contracting illness from consuming pork infected with Salmonella) are the first of their kind in Vietnam). The project has been implemented by ILRI in partnership with the Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH) and the Vietnam University of Agriculture. (VNUA).

The SafePORK project (2017–2022) will work to better manage food safety risks determined by the PigRISK project through the design and testing of promising interventions tailored to specific formal and informal pork value chains and ranging from rapid cheap diagnostic tests to branding and/or certification schemes for pork products. Emphasis will be given to involving the private sector. In addition to HUPH and VNUA, the project partners include Vietnam’s National Institute for Agriculture Science (NIAS) and Australia’s University of Sydney. (Website being developed.)

The Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH) is the leading institution in public health training. Our vision is to become a regional-class training centre and research academia. The Centre for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER), established June 2012, is a unit of HUPH focusing on interdisciplinary research. CENPHER puts a focus on three development directions— research, training and service delivery—to promote linkages between health and the environment in Vietnam and in the region.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works with partners worldwide to enhance the roles that livestock play in food security and poverty alleviation, principally in Africa and Asia. ILRI’s mission is to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock—ensuring better lives through livestock.

The National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) is under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with a mandate for planning and designing national research programs in animal science, implementation and management of approved national research programs, undertaking studies on animal breeding and genetics to improve animal performance, conducting studies on economics, livestock farming systems and marketing, undertaking studies on animal feed, nutrition and related issues including feed analysis, nutrient requirements for different species of animals and feeding regimes.

The Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) is a key and leading national university in human resource training and scientific research in agriculture and rural development, becoming more and more diversified in fields of study with ever increasing prestige within the higher education system of Vietnam. VNUA works to develop itself into a multi-disciplinary research university, becoming a leading university in the country and an advanced university in the region. VNUA is currently collaborating with 114 universities worldwide and international development agencies including ACIAR, ILRI, JICA, Belgium Kingdom, European Commission, and the World Bank.