Market-based approaches to improving the safety of pork in Vietnam (SafePORK)

In Vietnam, pork is the most widely consumed meat and nearly all is sold in traditional (wet) markets. These markets supply nutritious and delicious food to millions of people. Yet, food hazards are pervasive, food scares common, trust in food low and enforcement capacity weak. Unsurprisingly, concerns over food safety are high and growing (for example, a nationally representative survey found that food safety was a major concern to the public).
 
Despite concerns, little was known about the actual risk food posed to human health. This evidence gap  motivated research—funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)—to assess risks and opportunities for improving food safety (the PigRISK project). It developed the first quantification of the risk of food-borne diseases to human health and the first assessment of the cost of food-borne illness. Approximately one in five people fall ill each year due to pork-borne Salmonella, costing tens of millions of dollars each year. This evidence has been taken up at policy level through taskforces supported by the project. But the pork value chain is not just a potential source of disease, it is also crucial for Vietnamese livelihoods and nutrition. Wet markets are mainly supplied by smallholder farmers, and value chains provide employment to tens of thousands of traders, mostly women. Moreover, traditional markets supply pork more affordably and accessibly than the formal sector. Hence, it is important to develop ‘light-touch’ low-cost approaches tailored to the capacities of value chain actors which can be applied on a large scale.
 
Opportunities
Seeking to reduce the burden of food-borne disease in informal, emerging and niche markets, SafePORK will develop and evaluate light-touch market-based approaches to improving food safety, while safeguarding livelihoods in the  pork sector.
 
Objectives
  • Generate actionable evidence on the efficacy, feasibility and reach of current approaches to the improvement of pork safety in Vietnam.
  • Design, pilot and evaluate light-touch, incentive-based, approaches to food safety in close partnership with the private sector.
  • Agree with stakeholders a roadmap or theory of change through which project evidence can lead to safer food.
  • Enhance engagement and benefit sharing for men and women in the pig value chain.
  • Build capacity to understand and manage food safety risks, and improve risk communication among government partners, private sector actors, academics, donors and journalists.

Partners

  • Hanoi University of Public Health
  • Vietnam National University of Agriculture
  • National Institute of Animal Science, Vietnam
  • University of Sydney
  • Royal Veterinary College

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