Safe Vegetables!

As seen at a Mega Market store in Hanoi.

I always chuckle when I see these signs promoting “safe” vegetables or whatever not because food hygiene is a laughing matter but because grocery stores use it as a selling point. Presumably, safe means the growers haven’t overused pesticides, a problem in Viet Nam and other countries, and that produce has been thoroughly cleaned before being transported to the store.

Food hygiene is a problem in other respects. Food that is not stored properly can kill those who consume it, e.g., two children in a town in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam recently died after eating chicken porridge that had been left out all night. (Ironically, their drink of choice was Coke, which had been refrigerated.)

Another example is use of a coffee substitute that is actually a carcinogen. In other words, some merchants will do anything for money, regardless of the existential cost to their customers.

The good news is that Vietnamese are more aware than ever about the importance of source and a healthy lifestyle. This includes more vegetarians and vegetarian restaurants. While most people have no idea what “organic” means, they know it’s something positive. Now it’s a matter of ensuring that items that are labelled organic really are.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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