City checks holiday gift baskets for illegal alcohol

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Public Health Department officers are checking holiday gift baskets on sale throughout Pattaya to make sure they contain no alcohol and only fresh food.

Carrying out a Dec. 14 Public Health Ministry directive, city inspectors checked out baskets on sale at 11 well-known department stores to warn shopkeepers that any store found selling gift sets containing alcohol would face fines up to 60,000 baht.

Pattaya officials check on New Year gift baskets throughout town. Pattaya officials check on New Year gift baskets throughout town.

Public heath officer Buppha Songsakulchai also said city officials advised marketers that they’d received complaints last year that many baskets were filled with products near their expiration dates. This year, the city is checking buyers get full value from their baskets. All products inside gift baskets will have to contain clearly marked expiration dates, he said.

A random survey showed shopkeepers aren’t too concerned with the government inspections. A Naklua storeowner said he was certain none of the baskets in his shop contained alcohol, but that it wasn’t really an issue anyway: If customers want booze with their biscuits, the shopkeeper said he simply sells them alcohol separately, and the customer then adds them to the gift basket after sale.