Day 2 :
Mahidol University, Thailand
Sompon Wanwimolruk has graduated with BSc and MSc from Mahidol University, Thailand in 1976. In 1983, he obtained a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology from Flinders University, Australia, and spent two years as Postdoctoral research fellow at State University of New York. From 1988-2000, he was a Senior Lecturer at the Otago University, New Zealand. In 2004, he became a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Loma Linda University, California, USA. He returned home in 2011 and worked as Professor at Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University. He has published more than 110 papers and obtained many awards. He is the Director of Food Safety Research Center, Mahidol University in Thailand.
Food safety is a very important issue and has been recognized globally. Pesticides are excessively used in agriculture to increase crop production without considering the harmful impacts on human health. Numerous cases of cancer and other adverse health conditions have been reported to be linked with pesticide exposure. Therefore, in developed countries, routine pesticide monitoring and regulation on pesticide maximum residue limits (MRL) in food were set up to protect consumer’s health. For South East Asian (SEA) countries except Singapore, this regulation exists in law but is not fully implemented. Thus, pesticide residues in food have not been thoroughly monitored. Also there is a lack of information on contamination of pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits sold domestically in this region. Accurate and reliable information on pesticide residue contamination in foods is essential for planning and implementation of an effective national pesticide monitoring program. Utilizing Thailand as a pilot country, pesticide monitoring survey using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method has been conducted to determine the incidence of pesticide residues detected in vegetables and fruits sold domestically. The vegetables included Chinese kale, pak choi, morning glory, cabbage, tomato, snake bean, cucumber and chili. Fruits studied were watermelon, durian, mangosteen, orange (tangerine), apple, rose apple, guava, pomelo, papaya and mango. The results have shown that all of the vegetables and fruits studied were considerably contaminated with pesticide residues. The rate of pesticide detection in the vegetables ranged from 85% in Chinese kale to 100% in many vegetables including cabbage, tomato and snake bean. Similarly, high incidence of pesticide residues was observed in fruits which included watermelon (91%), 100% in orange, mangosteen and guava. It should be noted that there were many types of pesticide residues detected in the vegetables and fruits. Some of these had pesticide residues at levels of >MRL. The incidence of MRL exceedance for some produce was remarkably high ranging from 29% to 100%. However, it is safe to eat watermelon and durian as the pesticide residues were <MRL. This implies that there is increased likelihood of problems associated with food safety in Thailand. The existing findings provide scientific evidence of detected significant pesticide residues in the commonly consumed vegetables and fruits in Thailand. This situation observed with Thailand as a pilot country, is likely to be observed in the other SEA countries. It strongly suggests that government authorities should implement an effective routine monitoring program of pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits. This will lessen the health risk associated with ingestion of pesticide contaminated food. It also recommends that much research is essential by international and multidisciplinary experts to study the impact on economic, environmental, and health risks, of pesticide use in this region.
Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Malaysia
Ainie Kuntom has graduated from the Institute of Technology Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia and obtained her PhD from the State University of Ghent, Belgium. She has served as a Lecturer at the University of Science Malaysia in Penang, and Principal Research Officer at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the MPOB. Her research interests are in food safety, palm oil quality, flavor chemistry, development of methods for analyses of pesticide residue, soap technology and standards development. She is also involved in the certification under ISO 9001, ISO17021 AND ISO17025. In addition, she is also actively involved in development of sustainability in particular for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and the codes of practice for oil palm along the entire supply chain. She worked closely with the oil palm industry on the drafting of Malaysian standard and certification scheme for MSPO. She organized the pilot run of the standard and scheme in the industry followed by voluntary implementation of the MSPO certification scheme. In MPOB she is the coordinator of MSPO and has given numerous lectures of MSPO. She has assisted some of the premises to be certified under this scheme. She is now working closely with the smallholders to get them certified under MSPO certification. Currently the oil palm industry is facing issue on food safety related to the presence of 3-MCPD esters in refined palm oil. She is part of the 3-MCPD ester team in MPOB and assists the oil palm industry to reduce or eliminate both the 3-MCPD and glycidyl esters.
The Malaysian oil palm industry is a highly regulated industry. More than 60 national laws and regulations govern the palm oil production. In addition, the Malaysian palm oil board (MPOB) imposes licensing requirements to produce and trade palm products throughout the supply chain, from seed production through plantation, processing, until the palm products are exported to consuming countries. Palm oil is a popular and widely used food ingredient because of its versatility, trans-free, nutritious, readily available and competitive price. In Malaysia, palm oil as food ingredient is governed by the Food Act and Regulations. In addition, palm oil has to comply with the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards and food laws of the importing countries. The various food acts and regulation is adhered by the palm oil industry players in addressing the food safety requirements. Malaysia is also currently addressing the 3-MCPD esters and glycidyl ester (GE) contaminants in palm oil. Industrial research at palm oil mills and refineries are being conducted in collaboration with technology providers, seeking for suitable and feasible technology for adoption by the whole industry. It is crucial for producers to comply with all the national and international food safety regulations and requirements to sustain in global trade because palm oil is the most important agricultural commodity for Malaysia generating income to its people and nation.