Tests show Thai rice not hazardous

THAILAND - The Public Health Ministry of Thailand examined 33 samples of rice from different brands and found no toxins or chemicals, contradicting claims by some opponents of the rice-pledging scheme on social-media websites.

The brands include Mah Boon Krong, Big C, Royal Umbrella, Benjarong, Hong Thong among others. No mould was discovered, though a small amount of animal fur, insect parts and some live weevils were found in a very small amount of the samples. The ministry said this was well under the World Health Organisation's regulations.

Some brands of packaged rice have been targeted on social media, with people claiming that the rice is from last year's stocks and could be contaminated. Niphon Popattanachai, director-general of the ministry's Medical Science Department said the rumour had affected confidence in the quality of rice and caused worries among consumers.

Niphon said yesterday the foreign substances found were far too negligible to be hazardous to health, unlike some imported pasta.

Results for rice from CP and Nakhon Luang brands from Ayutthaya province along with eight other samples will be available on Monday, he said.

The ministry's food standard expert Kanokporn Atisuk said though a small amount of methyl bromide and phosphine used in the production process was detected in the samples, the level is safe and well under the WHO standard of no more than 50 milligrams per kilogram. He said these can be partially removed through rinsing, steaming and mere evaporation.