HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s Food Hygiene and Safety Control Department has recently inspected 50 street food restaurants and taken food samples for testing, reported online newspaper vietnamplus.vn.

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The result was that 11.8 per cent of samples were found to contain carcinogens. 

According to Dr. Trần Văn Thuấn, director of the Cancer (K) Hospital, up to 80 per cent of cancers are caused by unhealthy external factors such as smoking, drinking and diets.

Improper diets and contaminated foods accounted for 35 per cent of cancers, he said at a recent conference on cancer prevention.

In recent years, the number of street food stalls and restaurants has increased rapidly as people change eating habits, especially youngsters.

Many of the stalls are on streets of Ngọc Lâm, Đại Cồ Việt, Nguyễn Thái Học, Hàng Bông and others in the capital’s Old Quarter, which are always crowded in the evening.

However, the street food restaurants exposed diners to high risk of food poisoning due to unclear origins of food, unhygienic processing and cooking techniques, as well as unclean eating utensils, said Hoàng Thị Minh Thu, the department’s vice head.

The restaurants served various kinds of food, including chicken feet, animal intestines, hearts, livers and stomachs, and seafood.

Although the food was processed on dirty pavements, the customers still did not seem to mind about food safety and hygiene, said Thu.

“Animal organs require proper processing and cooking to avoid bacteria and parasites which cause diseases, especially dangerous ones such as cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, and diarrhoea,” said Thu.

It was difficult to confirm if the raw materials had been properly processed, cooked and preserved at the street food stalls or not, she said.

According to the Ministry of Health’s reports, there were 42 food poisoning cases, which caused nine deaths and more than 1,300 people to be hospitalised nationwide since August this year.

In order to minimise the risk of food poisoning by street food, the municipal authority needed to rearrange areas for street food restaurants as well as enhance inspection, she said. — VNS