Purpose – In order to improve the safety of seafood in the domestic seafood distribution chains (DSDCs) in Vietnam, a better understanding of current hygiene and practices compliance with government regulations is needed. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Infrastructure conditions and documents related to hygiene procedures of 50 trading places were evaluated using checklists. The hygiene handling practices of 135 fish distributors were also observed by using notational analysis methods. This notational analysis method focused on actions related to microbiological contamination in terms of hand washing or glove changing and the cleaning and sanitising of tools and equipment. Additionally, microbiological quality of 135 samples of raw finfish at points along distribution chains was compared with national standards. Findings – The results indicated that all trading places could be classified as non-compliant or seriously non-compliant with the regulations. The practices of fish distributors were also assessed to be at high risk for contamination of raw fish. The findings showed that approximately 42 and 39 per cent of samples from fishing ports and fish markets, respectively were classified as unacceptable according to the microbiological standards of Vietnam. Research limitations/implications – The present study is limited to research only from fish landing at fishing ports to the distribution to consumers at retail markets. Originality/value – Recommendations for improving food safety in the DSDCs in Vietnam have been developed from the findings of this study and are provided. However, due to similarities with fish distribution chains in other countries, these recommendations may have broader application.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 4, 2016
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