Popular snack in Myanmar tainted with chemical dye
Myanmar's Health Ministry has banned food products that have been found to have Auramine O which is a chemical used to "dye cotton, wool, silk and leather."
The Ministry says that when foods containing Auramine O are consumed for a long period of time, it "could be harmful to the liver and kidneys and cause cancer."
A doctor from the Health Ministry's Food and Drug Administration said chemical dyes are widely used in Myanmar in items such as bamboo shoots, chili powder, dried meat, soft drinks, certain beans, popular snacks such as preserved fruits and sometimes in raw fish and seafood. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The production or sale of harmful food is punishable by up to three years in prison, but enforcement is not strict, the doctor said.
A news report last week said 105 food producers have received warnings about using harmful chemicals.
"The problem we're facing now is worse than the impact of melamine-tainted milk powder because chemical dye is used in a lot of food in Myanmar, including junk food and snacks eaten at schools by young children," said Than Htut Aung, a publisher and editor of several news weeklies in Myanmar.