A leading researcher has urged authorities to evaluate Thailand’s rapidly growing fresh produce export trade into Vietnam, following the results of recent residue tests carried out by the Thai-Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN).
The tests revealed over 55 per cent of sampled products branded with Thailand’s quality mark for fresh fruit and vegetables (Q mark) contained “unsafe” residue levels.
Vo Huu Thoai, deputy director of Vietnam’s Southern Fruit Research Institute, told Thanh Nien News that the results were alarming and warranted immediate action for the Vietnamese Government. “The authorities need to urgently deploy technical measures to protect consumers,” he said.
Thailand replaced China as the dominant player in Vietnam’s fresh fruit and vegetable import market in 2014, with Thai produce making up 38 per cent of the import trade in 2015, according to Thanh Nien News.
Figures from Vietnam’s Fruits and Vegetables Association suggest the Thai-Vietnam trade generated almost US$60m in sales over the first three months of 2016.
Nguyen Thanh Ha, deputy director of Thu Duc wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City, told Thanh Nien News the shift towards Thai products was the result of waning consumer confidence in the quality of Chinese imports.
While a number of Vietnamese traders Thanh Nien News spoke to agreed the Thai-PAN test results would lead consumers to questions about the quality of Thai products, they doubted authorities could control the mass movement of fresh produce between the neighbouring nations.