In March 2016 the PigRisk project, which focuses on food safety and pork value chains, held its mid-term review. This five-year project (2012–2017) aims to improve the livelihoods of rural and urban poor in Vietnam by creating better opportunities and incomes from pig value chains as a result of reduced risks associated with pork-borne diseases. The project is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
The review highlighted significant achievements of the project including the development of a ‘cost of disease’ model and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QRMA) for Salmonella in consumers. This was the first time that these models had been used for food safety in Vietnam and they revealed the high economic cost to consumers from Salmonella-induced diarrhea, whose treatment costs at least USD 34, while hospital fees for a day’s treatment cost around USD 107. Adoption of better pig/pork production practices could reduce disease risks and prevent illnesses.
The assessment also found that along the pork value chain (from farm, to slaughterhouse, to market) Salmonella is present in 44% of tested pork. In addition, residues of prohibited veterinary drugs and growth promoters were found in tested feeds, meat, liver and/or kidney.
The project has previously reviewed current literature of animal health and food safety and assessed risks of diseases along the pork value chain through quantitative microbial and chemical analyses.
During the course of the review, field visits were made to Hung Yen and Nghe An provinces, the PigRisk project’s study sites. These visits provided an opportunity of the PigRisk team and the reviewers to engage in discussion with various stakeholders in the pork value chain, including farmers, retailers and slaughterhouse owners.
In addition, discussions with local authorities conveyed key findings from the project and explored future partnerships with local communities and value chain actors to implement interventions that help improve animal production and food safety.
ACIAR representatives and ILRI scientists Delia Grace, Fred Unger, Hung Nguyen, Lucy Lapar, and Max Barot, from Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), along with scientists from Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) and the Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) attend the review.
See a related article on 2015 planning workshop for PigRisk project.