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Gov Preecha downplays spoiled milk scare



PHUKET CITY: Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjan on Monday sought to downplay concerns following the latest in a series of scandals involving the distribution of spoiled milk to Thai schoolchildren.

The governor was speaking in the wake of an incident on February 13, when a consignment of spoiled milk was sent to Laem Panwa School in Wichit district.

Upon inserting straws into the milk cartons, teachers were confronted with a rancid odor and the sight of maggots wriggling around inside. Samples taken from 262 boxes of of UHT milk were subsequently sent for laboratory testing.

All of the milk in the province bought under the nationwide government project was produced and packaged at the Nong Pho Dairy Cooperative plant in Ratchaburi province.

Addressing the issue on February 23, the governor said that the problem had arisen in the transport and storage process. He issued instructions for milk to be inspected at every school on the island.

Samples of UHT and pasteurized school milk were sent on February 25 to the Regional Medical Sciences Center Phuket (RMSC Phuket) in tambon Srisoontorn for analysis.

Results of the tests were expected to be released later today.

Chop Boonler, director of Laem Panwa School, told the Gazette that of the 30,000-40,000 schools in Thailand, only two or three had been affected and that he considered these to be isolated cases.

The Laem Panwa School had never before experienced any problems with its UHT or pasteurized milk supplies, he said.

Because of a recent spate of similar incidents around the country, it was understandable that the public’s attention was focused on the issue, he said.

In the last reported case, a Bangkok-based daily newspaper yesterday reported that 24 students in Nakhon Ratchasima province required hospitalization for food poisoning after drinking contaminated milk distributed under the scheme.

Again, poor storage was cited as the cause.

The report also said a Phuket-based businessmen was the prime suspect in an investigation by the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission into alleged price collusion among dairies participating in the project.


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