Do we have laws to deal with this problem?

Note: This text was written in 2003. Some information may be out-of date.

The most important piece of legislation related to food safety in Thailand is The Food Act of 1979 (BE 2522). Sections 25(1) of this law makes it illegal for anybody to “produce, import for sale, or distribute… food which contains anything likely to be dangerous to health“. Section 58 states that “whoever violates 25(1) shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than 2 years and a fine of not more than twenty thousand Baht”.

Since the enactment of this Law more than 20 years ago, the Ministry of Public Health has issued a number of notifications to make it clear what chemicals are considered to be “dangerous to health”. The latest notification was issued on 30th May 2003, as follows:

“In order to control food safety, the Ministry of public Health (MOPH) announces that – from now on – all food must not contain:

  • Beta Agonist
  • Borax
  • Formalin
  • Salicylic acid
  • Hydrosulfide (Bleaching)
  • Pesticide (beyond MRL)
  • Anti-biotic
  • Nitro-furan”

As a result of this announcement, farmers or retailers who sell fruit and vegetables that contains more than the acceptable level of pesticide can be jailed for up to 2 years.

There are two other pieces of important legislation in Thailand relating to pesticides and food safety:

The Hazardous Substances Act of 1992 (BE 2535). Under section 43 and 74 of this Act, a person who imports, produces or has in their possession a banned chemical can be fined up to one million Baht and imprisoned for up to ten years.

The Public Health Act of 1992 (BE 2535). Under Section 40 and 73, a person who breaks Local Government regulations relating to hygiene in any place “where food is sold, served, prepared, or stored” can be imprisoned for up to six months and fined 10,000 Baht.

Onions and garlic
According to law, all food should be safe.

Code of Conduct

The FAO Council has adopted an International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of pesticides. This document establishes voluntary standards of conduct for all public and private entities engaged in or associated with the distribution and use of pesticides.

The code deals with many topics including pest management, reducing health and environmental risks, labeling, packaging, storage, disposal and advertising.

Glyphosate shirt
Promotion of pesticides by giving gifts (bicycles, t-shirts, TVs) is common practice in Thailand even though it is a violation of the ”International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides”.
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