A well-known restaurant chain selling 'com tam' in Ho Chi Minh City has provided adequate evidence to refute allegations that it had used ‘strange ingredients’ in the making of the rice-based Vietnamese delicacy, the municipal food safety watchdog has said.
Kieu Giang, which sells ‘com tam,’ a Vietnamese dish made from broken rice and usually eaten with grilled pork, has its outlet in District 9 checked by an inter-district inspection team earlier last week.
The inspectors discovered several kinds of unknown spices stored in 89 packages, collectively weighing 1,029 kilograms, in the restaurant’s storage and took samples of what local media described as ‘strange ingredients’ to local testing labs.
However, the city’s food safety watchdog announced on Wednesday that Kieu Giang was able to present related documents proving the origin of the ingredients in question.
The business was therefore not fined for any violations of product origin, according to Team No. 2 under the municipal food safety management board.
However, the company operating the eatery was still slapped with a VND2.3 million (US$98.9) fine for violations regarding its employee dress code and kitchen sanitation, the inspectors said.
Speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the same afternoon, Kieu Giang director Nguyen Trung Phong admitted those violations at its District 9 outlet.
Phong added that the company had renovated the kitchen and required all the attendants to ensure its dress code at the restaurant in the wake of the fine.
As for the 1,029kg batch of ingredients in question, which are still being sealed by food safety inspectors pending the test results, Phong asserted that they are only sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate the company properly sourced from prestigious suppliers.
With all relevant papers in hand, Phong said the company is confident that there was no such a thing as ‘strange ingredients’ in the making of its food.
Commenting on the inspection at its District 9 outlet in mid-August, the director said while it is essential for competent agencies to launch inspections and examinations to ensure the food business environment, the company’s business and reputation have been greatly impacted by the ‘strange ingredients’ allegations by some local newspapers.
“The number of visitors to Kieu Giang has since decreased by 50 percent," he complained.
But the company would not seek any lawsuit, he added.