FDA introduces alternative drugs for formalin

Two female officials inspect food at a super market in Yangon.  hoto: Phoe Khwar
Two female officials inspect food at a super market in Yangon.  hoto: Phoe Khwar

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demonstrated the use of preservation drugs to businesspersons at its office in Yangon last Saturday.
The demonstration was held to eliminate the use of formalin in noodles and glass noodles in the market.
The FDA introduced three methods to the businessmen after a year-long experiment with 14 formulae in food preservation, which are not harmful and are in line with internationally recognised healthcare guidelines.
The potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate preservatives that were demonstrated can preserve fermented rice noodles for three to four days.
An experimentation video was also shown at the FDA office. The FDA purchased 85 samples of rice noodles from a few townships in Yangon and found that few were free of formalin. This being so, the FDA initiated a substitution formula, said Dr Than Htut, Director-General of FDA.
“The toxic effects of formalin are serious, as it can damage the internal organs. So, we were determined to get rid of this chemical substance from the market. We will take stringent action against unscrupulous persons who continue to use formalin,” he said.
The FDA will proceed to conduct the awareness event and formulae training plan in Mandalay and other regions and states.
Dr Than Htut has encouraged businesspersons to adopt responsible business practices. As we are dealing with perishable products with short-shelf lives, we should produce limited amounts, according to the demand. Some unscrupulous businessmen are still using formalin. We have now realised this formula for food preservation is dangerous,” said U Tun Lin, owner of Kyel Sin Lin rice noodles business.
The FDA encouraged rice noodles businessmen to exercise the best practices in packaging, warehouse, production and distribution to preserve noodles. Short shelf life foods should be produced in limited volumes, depending on the daily demand. If they want to use preservatives, they must choose only authorised drugs and formulae.

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