The Ministry of Public Health said many fresh markets in Thailand have successfully become a role model for many ASEAN nations, with more than 1,300 of them across Thailand passing a standard test for hygiene.
According to Deputy Public Health Minister Chonlanan Srikeaw, a campaign was launched in 2002 to promote hygienic fresh markets in Thailand. A total of 1,302 markets have passed the standard evaluation to date, 228 of them have also been classified as outstanding in terms of sanitation.
The Public Health Ministry will continue to conduct random tests on fresh markets nationwide every year to ensure their standards have not been compromised. The great success in this campaign has set an example for fresh market operators in other ASEAN nations to follow.
As for open-air markets, Mr. Chonlanan said by law they must come under surveillance of the local administration. He stressed that good management is crucial for such markets as they usually feature stalls selling ready-to-eat food to consumers. He explained that if any contaminated food is sold, the markets could easily become a source of various diseases.
Following random checks by the Department of Health in 2010, half of the food sold in outdoor markets was contaminated. Bleach was found to be the most common type of chemical found during the inspection, followed by formalin and borax respectively.
Mr. Chonlanan, however, claimed that since the clean market campaign was introduced, 30 outdoor markets have been improved and have passed the standard test. As for the remainder of the markets, the Department of Health will continue to make sure that they will become disease-free before the ASEAN Community is established.
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