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THAILAND’S Food and Drug Association (FDA) yesterday dismissed reports that the United States has banned the import of fish sauce from Thailand, saying they had just asked for more documents from some firms, FDA deputy secretary-general Dr Poonlarp Chantavichitwong said.
Insisting that Thai fish sauce is of high export quality, Poonlarp said his agency would still examine the production process used by some companies, and contact the concerned authorities to come to an understanding with the US FDA on this matter.
Earlier reports claimed the ban on fish sauce from Thailand had stemmed from concerns that it contained the botulinum toxin, which is regarded as potentially fatal. Those affected by the toxin experience nausea and breathing difficulties.
Poonlarp said the FDA also plans to review the standard of fish sauce and its bacteria to ensure they meet international standards.
Referring to reports that fish-based sauce can contain histamine substances that can cause cancer, Poonlarp said the amount of histamine in the sauce was too little.
“One has to consume large amounts of fish sauce to develop cancer. People only use it for seasoning,” he said.
Speaking at the same press briefing, Witayakorn Maneenate, deputy director-general of Department of International Trade Promotion, Commerce Ministry, said it was not uncommon for the US FDA to seek more documents and information for examination, especially for products like fish sauce.
Over the past 10 years, the US has asked for additional documentation only four times – the latest being this year. Also, documentation is being sought from a company whose products have been suspended from entering the US, he said.
This firm has submitted the required documents and is waiting for a response, Witayakorn said.