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Thailand urges noodle importers to check for ethylene oxide

Bangkok, Nov 28 (Prensa Latina) Thailand Public Health Ministry has called on importers of instant noodles to check their products for possible contamination by ethylene oxide residue.

Yongyos Thammawut, Public Health Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, said on Tuesday that the ministry’s Medical Sciences Department has successfully developed a technique for detecting ethylene oxide in food products.

He said random checks should be conducted on imported noodles after the European Union recently found the chemical in vanilla flavouring used in more than 10 recipes of a popular ice cream brand.

Yongyos said ethylene oxide is categorised as a dangerous substance by the 1992 Hazardous Substance Act.

Yongyos said the substance was found to cause cancer by mutating genes and can also affect the reproductive system.

Consuming ethylene dioxide can also irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory system, as well as the central nervous system.

He said the EU has banned the use of ethylene oxide for sanitisation, but some countries still allow its use.

He said Thailand would mark any food with ethylene contamination as substandard food in line with the 1979 Food Standard Act.

Yongyos said the Medical Sciences Department has developed a technique for detecting ethylene oxide contamination, called Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). This technique is a standard method used by the European Union to check for pesticides.

Yongyos said importers of instant noodles can have their imported noodles undergo random tests at 5,000 baht per sample.

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