VietNamNet Bridge - False, unproven information posted on social networking sites have unwittingly affected farmers and producers.
The clip posted by a Facebooker on July 31.
On July 31, a person posted on his personal Facebook a video clip, with the aim of giving a warning to consumers to not buy and eat a new species of tiny mango sold in Vietnam recently.
According to the video, the man cut the mango to take the seed inside. But when the mango was halved, it did not have a seed but a layer of white plastic.
In the clip, the man chopped the mango while saying that the mango was fake because “the seed was plastic made from oil or a kind of chemical," the man said.
This video clip was watched by 2.2 million people and received a huge number of comments from Internet users.
Mr. Ma Quang Trung, Director of the Horticulture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the mango variety in the clip originated from China and it has been planted in Vietnam. The information in the clip is completely unfounded.
However, since the rumor that Chinese mangos were made of nylon, the sales of mango have dropped sharply at many fruit stalls in HCM City.
Some Saigon fruit traders paid for the test to prove that the bio-film surrounding the mango seed is safe.
Grapefruit growers cannot forget the incident that occurred in mid-July 2007. At that time, some foreign news agencies such as the BBC and Daily Mail (UK) released information that women who eat a lot of grapefruit would be in high risk of getting breast cancer. The information was based on survey results of over 50,000 women by two universities of Southern California and Hawaii (USA). Women who eat 1/4 of a grapefruit or more every day will increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 30%.
Some local newspapers quoted the source and caused harmful confusion. Although many conferences were held and prestigious scientists of Vietnam reassure the public and introduced evidence that Vietnamese grapefruit was unrelated, the information caused severe psychological impact on consumers and serious damage to grapefruit growers.
Within a month, the price of pomelo in the Mekong Delta dropped from VND8,000-VND10,000 per kilo to VND1,000 per kilo. Many people had to cut down pomelo trees.
Sweet potatoes turn green, suspected of contaminated by Agent Orange
On January 11th 2016, the Agri-Food Agency of Singapore (VAV) dismissed information by Today Online (Singapore) that Vietnamese sweet potatoes changed to green color because of contamination with Agent Orange from the soil.
That false information came from a Singaporean Facebooker, who wrote on her page on January 4 that her sister bought Vietnamese sweet potatoes. After the sweet potatoes were boiled and stored in the refrigerator overnight, the sweet potatoes turned green. She said she consulted a doctor, who said the sweet potatoes had been perhaps planted on the soil affected with “Agent Orange".
The VAV confirmed that this person had no knowledge of the sweet potatoes while ensuring that Agent Orange was not the cause.
The agency stated that all products imported into Singapore, including sweet potatoes from Vietnam, are regularly checked for chemical components.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore quickly coordinated with the local authorities to clarify and make correction to the false information.
Mangos packed with “strange, toxic cover”
In April 2016, some newspapers, especially online ones, and information websites simultaneously reported mangos wrapped with "strange bags", suspected of containing toxic chemicals in the Mekong Delta, particularly the provinces of Dong Thap and Tien Giang.
Shortly after the information was released, the price of mangos in the Mekong Delta dropped immediately from about VND30,000 per kilo to only VND15,000 per kilo.
However, when the authorities took the sample of "strange bags" for testing, they did not discover any harmful substances in the bags.
But when the information was corrected, farmers in the Mekong Delta had heavy losses.
Rumors kill sausage producer
On April 22, 2016 Hanoi Market Management Team announced the test of samples of 2.2 tons of sausage produced by a local meat processer named Vietfoods, based in the southern province of Binh Duong. The test showed that the sausage samples contained sodium nitrate-251 with content from 55 to 100 mg per kilo.
This unit immediately provided information to the media, saying that the sausage contained carcinogenic substances, which caused a boycott of this product on the market.
This not only hit Vietfoods but also other sausage makers in the country.
On May 23rd, the Health Ministry officially stated that the content of sodium nitrate found in Vietfoods sausages was about 55mg per kilo, completely safe in accordance with international practices adopted in the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia ...
Vietfood has been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. After more than a month in custody, mostly 2.2 tons of Vietfood sausages seized by the Hanoi Market Management Team are nearly expired. Their production was delayed and workers lost their jobs.
Vietfoods production has not resumed completely. According to this company, estimated damages are up to VND10 billion (nearly $500,000).