Monday, November 30, 2020

3.8% of dishes at vegetarian festival test positive for meat

Oct 21. 2020
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By The Nation

The meat-free dishes served up at Thailand’s annual vegetarian festival may not always be as healthy – or vegetarian – as they seem, new findings suggest.

Dr Supakit Sirilak, acting chief of the Medical Sciences Department under the Public Health Ministry, said vegetarian foods are imported as well as being produced domestically, but not all products were labelled. Some also contained dairy products or were even contaminated with meat because producers failed to properly clean machines usually used to make meat products, he added.

The Public Health Ministry has been testing food offered during the annual festival since 2013.

This year, the ministry’s Medical Sciences Department and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited factories and distributors to test samples of four popular vegetarian foodstuffs – imitation meat, pickles, noodles, and vegetables and fruits.

The test results were as follows:

1. Imitation meat: 3.8% of samples were contaminated with meat.

2. Pickled vegetables (mustard, radish): Levels of benzoic acid exceeded safety standards but had dropped from last year.

3. Noodles (rice noodle, vermicelli, etc): 34.5% of samples contained sorbic acid and 20% contained synthetic organic colouring – additives banned by the Public Health Ministry because they can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

4. Vegetables and fruit (bok choy, kale, long beans, celery, sweet peppers, radish, white cabbage, cabbage, oranges and rose apple): 20.8% of samples exceeded safe levels of chemical residue.

Dr Supakit urged people to buy labelled vegetarian products and examine vegetables and fruit carefully before consumption. The vegetarian festival runs until Sunday (October 25.)

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