About food safety
Packed rice, 73.9% have chemical residue. Over China export limit. No Thai regulation yet.
The Foundation for Consumers reveals the results of chemical and fungicide contamination tests conducted by the foundation BioThai and Chalad Sue’s product safety test centre on polished rice packed in 5kg bags. APICHART JINAKUL
Govt defiant over 'tainted' rice
Yanyong demands to know who ran tests
Mongkol Bangprapa & Phusadee Arunmas
Rice displayed by the Foundation for Consumers as having low level of residues (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
The government remains defiant over a consumer group' s lab test which found that almost three-quarters of packed rice samples in the market contained methyl bromide - an odourless colourless gas used as a fumigant to control rice bugs.
Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach demanded to know what laboratories were commissioned to test the packed rice.
He said that so far only five local labs are accredited to test chemical residues in rice. They are run by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Rice, the Department of Science Services and the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards.
Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar said yesterday he would ask the authorities to conduct testing again for accuracy.
"They must reveal where the packed rice is tested and how much of the residue is found," he said.
He called on the consumer group to send the samples to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Rice for testing because they have standardised laboratories.
The Foundation for Consumers (FFC), BioThai and Chalad Sue's product safety test centre released the results of chemical and fungicide contamination tests on 46 packed rice samples yesterday.
According to the test results 34 packed rice samples or 73.9%, contained amounts of methyl bromide residue of between 0.9-67 parts per million (ppm) while the other 12 samples contained no traces of residue
Among the contaminated packed rice, only Co-co (pimpa white rice) exceeded the 50ppm methyl bromide limit allowed by the Codex General Standard for Food Additives with 67.4 ppm.
However, the test results found none of the packed rice samples contained fungicide or residues of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides
FFC secretary-general Saree Aongsomwang said the chemical and fungicide contamination tests were carried out to protect consumers
The samples were taken on June 19-27 from six wholesalers and retailers and 7-Eleven convenience stores
The rice products were tested at university- and privately-run laboratories at a cost of 700,000 baht, she said, but refused to disclose their names.
"Some packed rice with high levels of fumigant had a stamp from the Consumer Protection Board," Ms Saree said. "A certain brand had award-winning recognition "
Witoon Lianchamroon, director of the BioThai Foundation, has called on the government to urgently inspect the rice for methyl bromide even though most of the products contain levels of the fumigant within the Codex limits.
"Some products can't be exported to China which sets the limit at no more than 5ppm," he said.
"The government should step in to protect the reputation and the health of consumers "
Thailand has no regulation on methyl bromide levels despite being one of the world's top rice exporters, he said.
Srinuan Korrakochakorn, deputy secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration, said she would need to see the test results and testing methods.
"I need to see where the testing is conducted and how the results are interpreted " she said. "Only the Overseas Merchandise Inspection Co Laboratory tests rice for exports."
However, she said the FDA will collect the rice samples tested by the FFC to conduct its own testing.
Earlier yesterday, Ms Srinuan testified before the Senate committee on public health that packed rice being sold in the market is safe.
She said the FDA takes more than 100 samples of packed rice for testing and the findings show they pose no health risks to consumers ..
Learn from listening
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accredit: to state officially that a person or organization is good enough to provide a particular type of service - รับรอง, รับรองวิทยฐานะ
authorities: government officials -
award: a prize or a sum of money that is given to someone following an official decision - รางวัล
board: a group of people who have the responsibility of managing important business or government activities - คณะกรรมการ
brand: a type of product made by a particular company - ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
bureau: a government organisation, in this case, within the police department - สำนักงาน
call on: request or ask someone to do something - ขอ, ขอร้อง, เรียกร้อง
carry out: to do something, to finish and complete a task - ทำให้สมบูรณ์, ทำให้สำเร็จ
commission: a formal request to somebody to design or make a piece of work such as a building or a painting - งานที่ได้รับมอบหมายไว้
committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
commodity: a product or a raw material that can be bought and sold - โภคภัณฑ์
conduct: the way something is carried out; the way someone behaves, especially in relation to particular rules or accepted ways of behaving - การดำเนินการ, ความประพฤติ
conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
consumer group: an organization that helps consumers and tells them important things they should know about the products they buy -
contain: to store or hold something - บรรจุ
contamination: the process of making something dirty, polluted, or poisonous by adding a chemical, waste, or infection - การปนเปื้อน
convenience store: a shop/store that sells food, newspapers, etc. and often stays open 24 hours a day - ร้านสะดวกซื้อ
defiant: refusing to obey a person or rule; refusing to accept that something is true - แสดงการท้าทาย, ไม่ยอมทำตาม, ไม่เชื่อฟัง
demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
disclose: to give information to people - เปิดเผย
exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
finding: results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
food additive: a chemical added to food (to preserve and extend shelf life in stores, for example) - วัตถุเจือปนในอาหาร
foundation: an organisation that provides money for things such as medical research or for a charity - มูลนิธิ
fumigant: a chemical used to fumigate (spray chemical into the air to kill insects or bacteria) - สารเคมีที่ใช้รม,ยาอบ,ยารม
fungicide: chemicals which kill fungus (เชื้อรา) - สารฆ่าเชื้อรา, สารฆ่ารา
inspect: to look at something carefully - ตรวจสอบ, ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
inspection: an official process of checking that things are in the correct condition or that people are doing what they should - การตรวจสอบตรวจตรา
interpret: to decide what the intended meaning or importance of something is - ตีความ, ชี้แจง, อธิบาย
lab (laboratory): a room or building used for scientific research, experiments, testing, etc - ห้องปฏิบัติการ, ห้องทดลอง
local: in this country (Thailand) -
merchandise: goods that are bought or sold; goods that are for sale in a shop/store - สินค้า
odourless: without a smell - ไร้กลิ่น
pack: to put things into a container - บรรจุ, ใส่หีบห่อ, เก็บของใส่กระเป๋า
parts per million: a unit for measuring concentration of chemicals or substances (finding how much of some chemical or substance is present) - พีพีเอ็ม (ส่วนในล้านส่วน)
pesticide: a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops - ยาฆ่าแมลง
privately-run: operated by a company or individual, not an organization open to the public such as the government or university or research institute -
protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง
recognition: public praise and reward for somebody's work or actions, the act of accepting that something exists, is true or is official - การยอมรับ
refuse: to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
release: making known to the public - การเปิดเผย, การปล่อย
reputation: the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง
residue: a small amount of something that remains at the end of a process - ส่วนที่เหลือ, เศษตกค้าง
results: what you get in the end when activity is completed (test results, research results, etc) - ผล
retail: to sell directly to the public for their own use - ขายปลีก
retailer: a person or company that sells goods directly to the public for their own use - ผู้ขายปลีก
reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
sample: a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests - ตัวอย่างทดลอง
Senate: one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand - วุฒิสภา
stamp: to put a mark on something using ink or, in this case, blood -
standard: a (high) level of quality - มาตรฐาน
standardise: to make objects or activities of the same type have the same features or qualities; to make something standard - วางมาตรฐาน, ปรับเข้ามาตรฐาน
test results: what a test finds out when it is complete - ผลการทดสอบ
testify: to make a statement about something that you saw, know, or experienced, usually in a court of law or an official investigation - ให้การเป็นพยาน
trace: a very small amount of a substance - จำนวนเล็กๆ
urgently: needing to be dealt with immediately - อย่างเร่งด่วน
wholesale: relating to the business of selling large quantities of goods, especially to people who are going to sell them in a shop - ขายส่ง
wholesaler: a company that does "wholesale" as a business, buying and selling goods in large quantities -
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