Thailand to urgently regulate chemical residues in rice

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Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong will accelerate the country’s implementation of a food safety regulation to regulate the amount of chemical residues in accord with the World Health Organization’s Good Manufacturing Practice to help ensure the quality of Thai rice.

The ministry originally planned to submit a request for the international production and testing practice in 2015 but decided to move it forward and apply within the next six months.

The move is to help traders of packaged rice, he said.

Dr Pradit said chemicals used in fumigating packaged rice were not dangerous to health but the Food and Drug Administration would be instructed to issue an order limiting the use of methyl bromide to not more than 50 parts per million (PPM) and aluminum phosphate at not higher than 0.1 PMM in order to meet international food standards.

Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said a joint government force will be formed to inspect rice packing factories and issue certificates to verify packaged rice to build confidence on food safety among consumers.

He said the private sector will be invited to join the bidding process for 500,000 tonnes of rice every two weeks under the rice release scheme.

Traders will be allowed to check the quality of rice before bidding for the grain, he said.