18 January 2019
Bangkok - Tests by Foundation for Consumers found lead in 11 out of 13 samples of popular seaweed snacks. One sample was also found with cadmium content exceeding FDA’s standards.
Chaladsue Test Center, a unit of Foundation for Consumers, collected 13 samples (12 brands) of seaweed snacks from supermarkets and souvenir shops between November and December 2018 and sent them to a certified lab to test for lead and cadmium.
Ms. Monrudee Po-in, the foundation’s food expert, said two of the samples were free of the heavy metals: M&K seaweed snack (original flavour) and GinJung seaweed (original flavour). The rest of the samples contained traces of lead, although not in the amount exceeding Thai Community Products Standards or the standard set out by the Ministry of Public Health.
Cadmium was also found in all the samples, with one product – Akinori – containing 2.34 mg/kg, exceeding FDA standard of 2 mg/kg. However, all products failed the cadmium contamination standard of 0.2 mg/kg of the Thai Community Products Standards.
Beside lead and cadmium, consumers should also pay attention to the amount of sodium they consume. According to the information on the labels of these snacks, they can contain up to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per package while WHO’s recommendation for maximum daily consumption of sodium is 2,000 mg.
According to Monrudee, TaoKaeNoi Fried Seaweed (classic flavour) was found with the lowest amount of sodium – 468mg/100g while the product with the highest amount of sodium was Panda Seaweed (spicy flavour), containing 9,230 mg/100g.
Ms. Saree Aongsomwang, secretary general of Foundation for Consumers, called on the FDA to raise its standards, which control both producers and importers, to be as high as Thai Community Product Standards in order to prevent consumption of heavy metals. She also urged consumers to look for the amount of sodium on the package to avoid over consumption.