Friday, August 18, 2017

FDA crackdown on formalin-laced food in Yangon

During a surprise check, officials from the Food and Drug Administration discovered several shops in Yangon selling food that contained illegal chemicals.

FDA officials conduct a surprise check at Thirimingalar Market on Wednesday night. Photo - Yangon FDAFDA officials conduct a surprise check at Thirimingalar Market on Wednesday night. Photo - Yangon FDA

According to the department, a variety of food from tofu, bean cakes, rice noodles contained formalin – a banned substance in food production. The surprise check was carried out on Wednesday night.

About 7,000 red bean cakes that contained formalin was destroyed, but authorities were unable to nab the main supplier of the cakes.

FDA officer Dr Phyo Mang Thet Oo said that “The department checked the market immediately after receiving information from Hmawbi in Yangon Region and Ayeyarwaddy Region, that most formalin contained food came from Yangon.”

“When we asked the retailers, they said they didn’t know the address of the factory that made these cakes. We will try to investigate the source,” he said.

On July 12, the FDA Yangon branch, along with Yangon City Development Committee and department of Public Health conducted the surprise check at Thirimingalar market in Hlaing township.

Dr Khin Saw Hla, director of FDA (Yangon) said on July 11 that the department is stepping up market surveillance to ensure food safety in the city.

“Formalin and illegal dyes are found in some foods such as bean cake, ngapi, and chili powder and we will try to trace the original source (supplier),” she said.

Since June, the Yangon FDA has conductd spot checks in almost 20 markets in downtown and on the outskirts of Yangon, and the department plans to continue the campaign to weed out the illegal use of banned chemicals in food production.

Formalin, also known as formaldehyde, is used by food vendors and manufacturers to prolong the shelf-life of their products.