The year 2023 marks an important hallmark in the Viet Nam – Canada relationship with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations (August 21, 1973 – August 21, 2023).

In Viet Nam, food safety is a major public health issue, despite the increase in productivity and quality of agri-food products. The causes of foodborne diseases and losses include fragmented agricultural production, complex informal value chains, and weak food safety surveillance, inspection and certifiable food safety management systems, especially in wholesale and retail markets. Most of the food is sold through high-risk wholesale markets and local, informal/wet markets, where small holder farmers may not pay enough attention to on-farm food safety standards, such as pesticide use and clean water.

The SAFEGRO management board was honored to join the celebration of the 50th anniversary in Ha Noi. During the event, Mr. Brian Bedard, Director of Food Safety and Animal Health at Alinea International, had a discussion with the Minister of Health, Madam Dao Hong Lan on food safety issues and collaboration.

SAFEGRO is the result of a direct request from the Government of Vietnam for Canadian assistance to develop and strengthen Vietnam’s food safety. The Ministry of Health is one among three key stakeholders of SAFEGRO. There are two are the Ministry of Industry and trade, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the lead agency.

SAFEGRO is implemented by Alinea International in partnership with the University of Guelph. This 15M CAD project lasts for 5 years, from 2019-20 to 2024-25.