Food Safety is a complex business
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Today brings us to the one week mark in our service corps assignment here in Da Nang, Vietnam. Our schedule for the day included an additional meeting with the client followed by time collecting notes, additional information, and brainstorming solutions to assist the city in improving food safety.
One thing which is clear to us already is that the city has already put in place several successful programs to improve food safety for residents and visitors. In or experience, the food quality is very good, procedures are followed, and overall the system that is in place is working quite well.
Food production turns out to consist of several quite complex processes. There is food production at the start of the process, either the raising of livestock or the planting and harvesting of crops. In the middle there is distribution of either live or processed food, followed by either sales to consumers through various market shop formats or through preparation for consumption at restaurants of various types. At each stage of this supply chain, there are checks for quality which must be made, with information logged and reviewed. Making this more complex is that the procedures followed are different for food produced locally (within the city of Da Nang), imported (from the perspective of the city) from other provinces within Vietnam, or imported from other countries and delivered to Da Nang. Tracing food origins, both for quality control and for responding to food-related incidents is a monumental task, even when looking only at the 700 tons of meat products which are consumed within the city of Da Nang every month. With a growing city, this number will just continue to rise.
We are now looking ahead to the future as the city prepares for the expected growth in both permanent residents and visitors to the city, beaches, and exclusive resorts which already exist and are being built. It is astounding to see all the construction underway in the city of Da Nang. Several years ago, there was only one bridge across the Han River which separates the city proper from the beach area to the east. Now there are five bridges with another two, with quite interesting architecture, under construction. Likewise, in the city center, there are several high rise building projects underway for offices and luxury hotels. This is clearly a city on the rise.