No ‘plastic seaweed’ in Thailand

seaweed products

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not found dried seaweed made from plastic sold in the country, FDA Deputy Secretary-General Narangsant Pheerakij said on Thursday in Nonthaburi.

Responding to consumers’ worries over alleged counterfeit dried seaweed imported from China, FDA officials collected 24 samples of seaweed products sold in department stores and markets for DNA testing at the Department of Medical Science.

The test results showed seaweed cells, he said, but which species of seaweed was used could not be currently identified. The results also said that no plastic had contaminated the samples.

Dried seaweed currently sold in the markets is often in larger sizes than previously, according to Dr Narangsant. When soaked, its colour is uneven and surface is smooth with uneven ridges, and normally smells fishy, said the FDA.

Dr Narangsant also advised consumers to buy products showing labels in Thai which identify manufacturers, distributors, factory addresses, weight, dates of manufacture and expiry and FDA-certified logos.

Since January 2009, distributors have applied to import some 246,000 kilogrammes of dried seaweed into Thailand worth around Bt 62 million (US$1.8 million).

Consumers suspecting that the seaweed they purchased is artificial can telephone 1556 to inform officials to investigate and file complaints.

The FDA collected seaweed in the market for testing after it was rumoured that seaweed made of plastic imported from China was found in the northern province of Chiang Mai.