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Spice scare threatens local producers

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Spice scare threatens local producers | Thaiger

PHUKET (Nation): Tests on southern-style shrimp-chili paste and spicy-fish curry samples from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi found that about half contained microbes or excessive levels of preservatives, a researcher from the Ministry of Public Health’s Regional Medical Sciences Center in Phuket said on Tuesday.

News of the findings could affect sales of the foods, which are often sold as souvenirs as part of the government’s One Tambon One Product project, an initiative supporting locally-made and marketed products.

Researcher Anatta Karun said that the center last year collected 27 samples of chili paste and 23 samples of fish curry from souvenir shops in the three target provinces. The samples had an amount of microbes measured and were tested for the preservatives bensoic acid and sorbic acid, as well as lead, cadmium and mercury.

The results found that half of the products were substandard because they either contained microbes or excessive preservatives – up to 10 times more than recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, he said.

The FAO recommends up to 1,000 milligrams of the preservative bensoic acid per kilogram of food product, but the samples had an average of 2,000 to 3,000mg of bensoic acid per kilo, said K. Anatta.

K. Anatta said that this was because producers – mostly villagers – did not know how to use the preservatives and needed to be taught proper production controls to ensure high-quality, safe-to-eat products.

Admitting the study may affect OTOP products, K. Anatta added that the testing was meant to lift the quality of the foods to Food and Drug Administration standards.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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