HCM CITY (VNS)— Certain foods in HCM City have been found with high quantities of oxalic acid, according to deputy chairman of the city Public Health Association, Professor Chu Pham Ngoc Son.
The revelation was made at a workshop on food safety held on Thursday, which announced the results of random tests carried out on foods in the city.
The tests were conducted from late June until December by HCM City-based firm Sac Ky Hai Dang Science Technology Services Joint Stock Company.
They have been taken from four local enterprises including Phong Ky in District 6, Dinh Thanh Le and Pham Van Nang in Cu Chi District, and an enterprise whose name is yet to be revealed.
Around 873 samples were taken from vermicelli noodles, instant noodles and bamboo shoots with nearly 41 per cent testing positive for high levels of oxalic acid, which is currently banned from use in food products.
Dr. Phan The Dong, former head of HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry's Food Technology Department, told Lao Dong (Labour) Newspaper that regular consumption of oxalic acid over a long period of time would result in a lack of minerals and malnutrition.
"People suffering from diseases such as kidney disorder, rheumatism, and gout should not eat food containing this type of acid," he advised, adding that oxalic acid could also cause kidney stones and urinary tract problems.
All instant noodle and bamboo shoot samples were found to contain high levels of oxalic acid, ranging from 30.8 to 449mg per kilo for instant noodles and 295-3,080mg per kilo for bamboo shoots.
Additionally, around 60 per cent of fun guo, wood ear, steamed rolled rice pancake, sponge cake, tea, and carrot samples were found to contain oxalic acid levels between 73.5-293mg per kilo.
A test by the HCM City Food Safety and Hygiene Department in August also showed four samples of dried noodles and wheat gluten taken from shops in the city contained oxalic acid, with the department returning to conduct a second round of tests for confirmation.
In the second tests, the amount of oxalic acid found in dried noodles and wheat gluten was a massive 142mg and 40.1mg per kilo.
In spite of the damning results, shop owners have been reluctant to accept the results of the tests. One owner of Phong Ky enterprise denied their dried noodles contained any oxalic acid alleging they were made from wheat, eggs, food colouring, and safe addictives.
Nevertheless, test results have continued to find high levels of oxalic acid contained in the goods. — VNS