By The Nation
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn discussed the issue early this month with Hong Kong Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So.
More than half of Thailand’s durian exports go to Hong Kong, worth more than Bt6 billion last year.
Hong Kong does not allow imported fresh vegetables or fruits to be coated with any substances, including turmeric. Some Thai farmers soak their durians in turmeric to speed ripening, and there had been some complaints by Hong Kong authorities last year.
According to a recent report by Wittayakorn Maneenetr, executive director of the Thai Trade Centre in Hong Kong, the city’s Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) said that after working together with the Thai Commerce Ministry, no turmeric-soaked durian had been found in Hong Kong markets.
As this is early in the high season for durian, the ministry will follow up and closely coordinate with all relevant parties to see that Hong Kong’s import regulations are honoured.
Besides turmeric, the growth regulator ethephon is also a concern of the FEHD if it is found at levels exceeding two parts per million. Thailand and Hong Kong will cooperate to control that substance in the future.
Meanwhile, Thailand has invited FEHD officials to examine the procedures to prepare fruits for export from May 24-26.
“THAIFEX-World of Food Asia”, an exhibition of food and agricultural products, is scheduled for May 25-29. About 150,000 people from across the world are expected to visit the exhibition, with plans for 1,800 corporate exhibitors from more than 40 countries. The event is expected to generate immediate income of Bt1.5 billion.