Ho Chi Minh City food safety authorities have published a list of local rice noodle producers identified as using dangerous and banned chemicals for bleaching and brightening.
The city Food Safety and Hygiene Department said Saturday it had identified six samples from three producers contaminated with optical brighteners used in detergents and cleaners known commercially as tinopal, and oxalic acid used in bleaches.
Both substances are banned from food products, according to Vietnamese regulations, while some samples contained excessive amounts of the preservative sodium sunfite.
The blacklist names Hoang Thanh, a home business on Hong Bang Street, District 6; Phuong Dung, a home business on Phan Huy Ich Street in Go Vap District, and Cat Tuong Company on Road 50, Go Vap District.
Health officials said they spent the first seven months of the year inspecting all 212 businesses known to produce rice powder products in the city. They tested samples together with experts from the National Institute of Food Control in Hanoi.
They have provided the contaminated samples to the city Department of Industry and Trade, which is authorized to punish the businesses.
But the official figures look more optimistic than those released earlier by examination company Sac Ky Hai Dang of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
Professor Chu Pham Ngoc Son, chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Chemistry Association and a technical adviser to the company, said at a food safety conference held August 7 that the company has received samples from many units in the city, and tests in late June found almost all of them were contanimated with brightener.
The situation improved later when 31.5 percent of 146 samples tested positive for the substance in July, and 5 percent, or eight out of 144 samples, in early August.
Son said tinopal, when digested, can damage the liver, kidney and the neurological system.
It causes the person to usually feel tired and increases the risks of cancer, he said.
Son also said the company has received samples of plastic food wrap for inspections, and 11 of the 18 samples so far tested positive for DEHA, a plasticizer harmful to the endocrine system, which can impair male sexual functioning, and cause premature sexual development in females.
The Health Ministry ordered tests in late July after elevated amount of DEHA was detected in food wraps sold in Chinese supermarkets.
Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment