Health Officials Find Formaldehyde in Food Products at Luang Prabang Markets

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contaminated-formaldehyde cow tripe and squid found in markets in Luang Prabang.

Health officials have found formaldehyde in animal products and seafood across markets in Luang Prabang.

Health officers from the Luang Prabang Provincial Department of Food and Drugs, under the Ministry of Health, investigated food markets around the city on Friday and discovered high levels of formalin (formaldehyde in liquid form) that had contaminated animal products at several locations.

Formalin is often used to increase the shelf life of fruits and seafood in tropical countries although its use is prohibited in most nations as it can cause severe illness or fatalities.

Ms. Soudaphone Sibounheuang, an official at the Luang Prabang Department of Food and Drugs, told the Laotian Times that health officials seized expired hotdogs, meatballs, and formalin-laced cow tripe and squid from food stalls in the market.

“We examined the animal products in the market with food test kits, particularly cow tripe, and squid when we discovered that they tested positive for formaldehyde,” said Ms. Soudaphone.

She stated that the majority of Luang Prabang’s seafood is imported without food inspection from northern Thailand or the capital of Vientiane to the province.

According to the Luang Prabang Food and Drugs Department, the department will examine vegetables and fruits in the markets across Luang Prabang to ensure food safety for the consumers.

Ms. Soudaphone urged customers to remain cautious while consuming animal products and shellfish, recommending that suspected items should be cleaned with vinegar or salt before consumption, or not eaten at all if it can be avoided.

Formaldehyde is an odorous, colorless chemical that is used in household cleaning products and as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories. Long-term human exposure to the chemical may cause certain types of cancer.