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High-level Phuket visit spotlights food safety

PHUKET: The Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr Chonlanan Srikeaw, yesterday (March 25) paid a high-profile visit to the public market on Ranong Rd, Phuket Town.


Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 26 March 2013, 01:08PM


Phuket market traders. Photo Jessica Rabbit
Phuket market traders. Photo Jessica Rabbit

The aim of his visit was to highlight the need for markets in Thailand to be up to standard before the advent of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015.

He was accompanied by Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut; Dr Narong Saiwongse, Deputy Director of the Department of Health; Phuket Deputy Mayor Kawee Tonsukatanon and health officials.

The health officials tested the water in seafood trays in the market for preservatives and other chemicals, as they do every year.

With Dr Chonlanan watching, they declared that vendors in the market had passed the tests.

Dr Chonlanan said, “We check the food against Health Ministry standards every year. Excellent markets will receive five stars, and if they keep the five stars for five years they will be held up as an example for other markets in Thailand to follow.

“It would be great if Phuket’s markets continue improving in terms of quality, organization and cleanliness.”

Dr Narong said, “Last year health officers tested 526 food samples from markets and supermarkets in Phuket for chemicals.

“They found 15 samples contaminated. Ten of these, including salted fish, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, purple eggplant, chili and morning glory were found to have excessive amounts of insecticide and five others were contaminated with various chemicals.

“Health officials are serious about detecting chemicals that may affect the quality of food people eat. They want to improve standards in markets to be good enough for the AEC.”

Apart from insecticides, health officials check for formaldehyde, sodium hydrosulphite and other preservatives that may have harmful side-effects, borax – used to give meatballs a more rubbery texture – and salbutamol, which is used to make meat look more red.

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