People urged to wash mushrooms to prevent formaldehyde ingestion


BANGKOK, 22 March 2014  The Ministry of Public Health is urging people to wash mushrooms thoroughly before cooking them, after finding that the food item is frequently soaked in formaldehyde before reaching the hands of consumers. 

Dr. Praphon Angtrakun, Deputy Secretary-General of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), revealed on Friday that 3% of the 15,000 fresh food items the FDA randomly tests are tainted with formaldehyde. The rate of detection is especially high in seafood. As for vegetable produce, straw mushrooms and termite mushrooms are of special concern.

Dr. Praphon said formaldehyde-laced produce can be identified if vegetables and other foodstuff don’t dry out or become shriveled after being put on display without the addition of moisture. With meat, identification can be made if the meat does not dry out after being put in the sun, a food preparation practice in some areas.

Dr. Phaphon added that people should always wash or soak produce before cooking.

Reports of formaldehyde contamination can be made to the FDA on its hotline number 1556, or at public health offices nationwide.