Agriculture officials admitted at a conference in Hanoi Wednesday that just eight percent of abattoirs in northern Vietnam are properly run.
Pham Van Dong, deputy head of the ministry's Animal Health Department, said there are more than 11,500 abattoirs in northern Vietnam, but only around 930 are subject to regular inspections and meet hygiene standards.
The others, including mobile abattoirs, are set up by butchers at farms and households, he said.
A report from animal health officials in Hung Yen Province said they can only oversee just one of more than 1,000 abattoirs in the province.
Dong said the rate is much lower than the nearly 89 percent of supervised abattoirs in southeastern provinces.
But even slaughterhouses listed as being controlled are not well supervised, said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Thu said she had witnessed "loose management" at many slaughterhouses in the presence of animal health officials.
"People butchered pigs right on the floor. It is very dirty. If someone sees that, she or he would not dare to eat pork," Thu said.
She said animal health officials present there still approved the meat that would be sold in the market later.
Dong also expressed concern about the transport of processed animals from abattoirs to the markets. A widely-used method is to carry them on beat-up motorbikes exposed to the elements.
There's "very high risk" that the meat gets infected with microorganisms during such deliveries, especially when the bikes also run through flooded roads.
Nguyen Huy Dang, deputy director of Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said animal health officials won't be able to do much to improve the situation without local governments willing to take tough action.