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The role of proximity and standards in guaranteeing vegetable safety in Vietnam

Moustier P., Thi Tan Loc N.. 2015. World Food Policy, 2 (1) : p. 52-77.

In Asia, the growth of purchasing power, especially in cities, come together with rising consumers' concerns for food safety. We investigate two mechanisms of food safety assurance, i.e., proximity (between farmers and consumers), and certification based on standards. The literature suggests the following hypotheses: (i) proximity in food chains comes together with low farmers' cost for quality assurance, but also limited scope of operation; and (ii) ¿abstract¿ expertise systems that form the basis of standardization imply high costs at the expense of inclusion of small-scale farmers, but enable large scope of operation; the impact on consumers' trust is controversial. The paper is a preliminary attempt to test these hypotheses on the situation of vegetable safety assurance in Northern Vietnam. The authors' fieldwork brings to the fore a variety of standards and quality assurance systems: safe vegetable certification by the Plant Protection Department, based on¿quite lax¿public standards and control; it is in some cases supplemented by internal control systems; VietGap and AseanGaps based on good agricultural practices and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point); and participatory guarantee systems (PGSs) for organic vegetables. The hypotheses are partly confirmed. One interesting outcome relates to the combination of systems based on relational proximity, expert systems, and labeling on the origin of vegetables as enhancing consumers' trust and farmers' commitments. The paper concludes with recommendations in terms of policy and research. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : circuit de commercialisation; enquête auprès des consommateurs; contrôle de qualité; certification; norme; biosécurité; légume feuille; viet nam; sécurité des aliments

Thématique : Economie de la consommation; Contamination et toxicologie alimentaires; Commerce, commercialisation et distribution

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