With sidewalk booths selling slaughtered or frozen chickens at surprisingly cheap prices mushrooming along streets in Ho Chi Minh City, industry insiders have warned that the poultry is likely to be ‘waste chickens’ -- laying hens that are no longer in good use and unfit for human consumption.
Along such streets as Ngo Tat To in Binh Thanh District and Hanoi Highway in Thu Duc District, many vendors have been offering chickens at only VND40,000 (US$1.73) to VND50,000 ($2.17) per kilogram, advertising that they are ‘egg-laying hens’ with tasty meat.
The poultry, which has been slaughtered and frozen, only weighs 1.2 to 1.4 kilogram each.
Similar products are normally available at official markets and supermarkets no less than VND100,000 ($4.2) a kg.
According to Nguyen Van Khoa, owner of a chicken farm in the southern province of Dong Nai, egg-laying hens will be considered‘waste chickens’ when the amount of eggs they produce reduce after a few years.
This type of chickens is not widely sold in Vietnam, Khoa continued.
In some cases, farmers usually feed those substandard poultry up until they each weigh about two kilograms, before selling them to the market at least VND60,000 ($2.6) a kilogram, he elaborated.
The farm owner asserted that chickens sold at a cheap price in Ho Chi Minh City are not domestic poultry.
Nguyen Van Ngoc, vice-president of the poultry association in southeast Vietnam, backed the opinion by stating that the products available at rock bottom prices in Ho Chi Minh Cty are ‘waste chickens’ imported mainly from South Korea.
They are hens that had laid eggs for two to three years and are no longer in good use as egg quantity has decreased, Ngoc said.
“The products are bad for human health as laying hens are often injected with many types of vaccines,” the expert continued.
“Such substandard products are commonly used as animal feed,” he added.