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Metro pulls sturgeon from its shelves
Metro Thang Long, a branch of wholesaler Metro Cash&Carry Viet Nam, has suspended sale of sturgeon, pending a decision on its official origin from Ha Noi's Market Watch, according to an official from the supermarket.
Khuat Quang Hung, head of general affairs and corporate communications of the giant wholesale supermarket, said the suspension "was not really about the origin" but was done "to ensure that our customers are confident that all of our sturgeon is from Viet Nam."
"We also want to wait for the final decision from the market-watch team," he added.
Hung told Viet Nam News that the wholesaler sold between three and four tonnes of sturgeon monthly.
"We sell around 100kg of sturgeon daily. On average, each of our 19 branches nationwide sells only two sturgeon per day. We haven't seen any change in sales," he told.
Viet Nam News also contacted Nguyen Cong San, deputy head of Ha Noi's Market Watch, to ask about the origin of Metro's sturgeon.
San, however, declined to answer, only saying that "there is a lot of information that we need to clarify and examine."
However, a report in TuoiTre (Youth) newspaper yesterday quoted San as saying that Metro provided documents to the market-watch team that showed the sturgeon originated from Viet Nam.
The market-watch team, however, said it could not ensure it was Vietnamese sturgeon because the wholesaler had purchased fish from other suppliers.
San was quoted in the newspaper as saying that the market-watch team would examine Metro's suppliers before issuing a final decision.
An environmental police official of the Ministry of Public Security, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Viet Nam News that it was easy to check the origin of the sturgeon in Viet Nam by measuring the total amount sold nationwide and comparing it to the total supply.
Metro said it was willing to supply all of the necessary information to the department's market-watch team to prove that its sturgeon was from Viet Nam.
The controversy rose one week ago when a director of a company said that sturgeon sold at Metro was not from Viet Nam.
Metro, however, denied that accusation, saying all of its sturgeon was from Viet Nam.
HCM City's market-watch has checked several branches of Metro, all of which had possession of documents proving the origin of the fish.