The question has gripped a nation of nervous rice consumers: Is the pesticide methyl bromide used in rice storage safe for people to ingest?
Staff at a rice packing factory in Ayutthaya’s Nakhon Luang district prepare methyl bromide to fumigate rice. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Even though the gas has been used for decades as an industrial fumigant for stored farm products, particularly at mills for grains, the issue was put firmly in the spotlight after a survey of packed rice by the Foundation for Consumers (FFC) and BioThai Foundation found various levels of inorganic bromide or bromide ion residues in 34 brands out of 46 samples.
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