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Consumer concern about food safety in Hanoi,Vietnam

Ha, Thanh Mai, Shakur, Shamim, Pham Do, Kim Hang
Food control 2019 v.98 pp. 238-244
anxiety, consumer attitudes, consumer surveys, distress, fearfulness, food preservatives, food safety, fruits, kinship, livestock, meat, pesticide residues, risk communication, risk perception, urban areas, urban farming, vegetables, Vietnam
A growing demand for safe and high quality food in Vietnam has been driven by not only the rise in living standard but also consumer worry about food safety. This paper analyses consumer concern about food safety and its determinants, taking into account spatial disparities. Using the mixed method which combines data from our consumer survey and group discussions in Hanoi, we found that consumers experienced a high level of anxiety about food safety. In their eyes, pesticide residues, food preservatives, and hormone in livestock were top three risky hazards. As a result, vegetables, fruits, and meat were considered to be most unsafe. The concern about food safety was shaped by the fear of food hazards, risk perception of protein food, risk perception of vegetables and fruits, food risk information acquisition, and region. Region was the most important determinant of food safety concern, suggesting that spatial disparities exist. With a limited capacity to self-supply food and weaker social and kinship networks, urban consumers perceived a lower level of control over food safety. Their level of worry about food safety, therefore, was higher than their rural counterparts. Hence, urban farming is important, as it will help reduce urban consumers’ distress about food safety. To eliminate consumer fear in both rural and urban regions, better risk communication aiming at educating consumers about food hazards is required. Trust in food can be restored by better control of hazards and the safety of common food products.