A country known for its healthy, veggie-rich cuisine is reeling from news reports of toxic domestically-raised soy sauce, cancer-causing chemicals saturating greens, and formaldehyde in the country's signature pho noodle soup.
Agrarian Vietnam, "where three quarters of people are farmers" is being rapidly transformed into a "industrialized and market-driven economy," according to a report from Agence France Presse.
"A recent survey by the state-run Plant Protection Department found pesticides on 30 to 60 percent of the vegetables tested in Hanoi markets, including substances that are banned in Vietnam and other countries.
One of them was the insecticide metamidophos, which has been linked to health problems in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States. Many farmers in Vietnam and neighbouring China use high doses of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to boost production in a cut-throat market where margins are slim, even though many know the substances pose health risks."
One farmer, Nguyen Thi Nhuong, admitted she and her family do not eat what she grows commercially.
"We have set aside a small part of our garden for vegetables that grow naturally for our daily use. We are afraid the chemicals will harm our health."
(Thanks to http://www.dgfoundation.org/programs/country-gateway-support.html for the photo of Vietnamese farmers.)