The research team from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Burapha University, in collaboration with the Saen Suk municipal staff, Chonburi Province, visited the area to inspect food safety specifically related to formalin contamination, to build confidence in safe consumption with formalin test kit manufactured from laboratories that meet international standards under the funding support from the PMUC. The aim is to produce and sell at a low price so that general public can affordit and use it themselves.
From the news that formalin (embalming solution) has been used to marinate meat and organs being sold to pork stands across the province of Chonburi, causing concern to consumers about food safety. Recently (December 7th, 2022), a team of experts from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Burapha University, together with the Saen Suk municipal officials, Chonburi Province, visited the area to inspect food safety related formalin contamination by inspecting raw materials in the grilled pork restaurants in the Bangsaen area, which is a popular tourist attraction, by using a formalin test kit that has been researched and developed under the project “Diagnostic Innovation Collaborative Network: Development of a Diagnostic Kit Laboratory of Burapha University” from the research funding provided by the Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) in collaboration with Hala Food (Thailand) Co. Ltd., with Asst. Prof. Marut Tangwattanachuleeporn, Ph.D., Burapha University serving as the project leader to build confidence and ease the concern of Chonburi citizens and tourists traveling through the Bangsaen area.
During the visit to the area, a random inspection of raw materials in 21 grilled pork restaurants found that 20 restaurants were free from formalin and only 1 restaurant was found to contain formalin, which was found in crispy squid and Sabai Nang (tripe).
Asst. Prof. Marut Tangwattanachuleeporn, Ph.D., project leader, said that “The test kits we use were developed under the ISO9001 international standard laboratory that we built specifically to support the production of test kits for medical, food safety and environment applications with funding support from the PMUC. The kits can be used to test both meat and seafood, and have a high accuracy comparable to the test kits from the Pharmaceutical Organization. There is a confirmed research result , which after we randomly checked for formalin at various grillled pork restaurants in Bangsaen area, and announced the list of restaurants that have passed the test we jave received a very good response. Restaurants that have passed the test have been shared on social media to ensure food safety for customers, which resulted in a greater number of customers coming in. Currently, the Chonburi municipality has purchased the aforementioned test kits from the project to be used for food safety inspection in order to reassure the public and tourists.”
The test kit was developed with the goal of being easy for people to use, suitable for food safety screening. The color of the food does not interfere with the test. It is made from innovative paper sensors and can be used to inspect both solid pieces of meat and liquid marinates. It offers 100% accuracy, ease of use, affordability, ease of carrying, and can also provide results within 5 minutes by putting a sample of meat or food marinates in the sample preparation bottle. It is then dropped into the center of the paper sensor. Then the result can be read from the size of the pink circle that occurs. The size of the circle indicates the amount of formaldehyde. (The main component of formalin) contained in the food.
In the past, the research team has brought the aforementioned test kits out into the field to check for formalin used in seafood sold by local fishermen at Won Napha Beach and Bang Saen Beach. The seafood sold at this market was found to be free of formalin in all samples tested. The inspection has received good cooperation from seafood vendors in the market. The results of the test also helped to promote the safety of seafood sold by local fisheries, being free from formalin contamination. This helped to regain the buyers’ confidence in consuming the seafood, and helped to increase the value of seafood sold in this market. In addition, the test kit also won the first prize in the Pitching on the Beach competition under the BUSINESS BROTHERHOOD AT BURAPHA 2020 project.
Assoc. Prof. Siree Chaiseri, Ph.D., director of the PMUC, said that “PMUC has tried to push forward the establishment of a base for medical and food innovation that meets international standards to cover all regions of the country by collaborating with universities in various regions that are ready to be academic service centers, which are open to the private sector to use the services to produce trial products for sale before extending to building their own laboratories. In this project, the PMUC has provided funding for the development of standardized laboratories to support the production of test kits for medical, food safety and environment-related applications. They would also offer certification services to certify medical test kits that meet the international ISO9001 standard and other test kit production standards, as well as support the development of various test kits for the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Burapha University, with an aim for it to be a center for producing medical and food safety test kits, which meets international standards for the eastern region in the future.”
In addition to the formalin test kit in food, there are other tests developed under the project laboratories, such as simple screening kits for Vibrio pathogens or severe diarrhea from seafood poisoning, diagnostic kits for red meat stimulants, and an screening kit for kidney disease risk: detecting urea, creatinine, albumin, etc., which is currently in the research and development stage to be able to offer quick diagnosis, ease of use, and affordable price. This would allow easy access to the general public, who will actually be able to use the device effectively. It would also be suitable for mass production and marketing. After the research is completed, there is a plan to transfer the technology to innosense 2021 Co., Ltd., a startup company founded by graduates from the university. The laboratory would serve as a center for developing formalin test kits and incubating the startup company to be enable it to produce efficiently and achieve sustainable management before the “spin off” occurs.
For those who are interested in buying the aforementioned test kit, currently, the project has opened 4 channels for ordering as follows:
1. Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100081119882530
2. Line official account: @374rvish
4. Faculty of Allied Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science at Burapha University Contact:
– Asst. Prof. Marut Tangwattanachuleeporn, Ph.D., leader of the research project of diagnostic testing laboratories network (PMUC) Tel. 099-369-9982.
– Assoc. Prof. Yupaporn Sameenoi, Ph.D., lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Burapha University (Inventor) Tel. 080-507-9165.
– Mr. Bencharat Tasangthong, director of Innocence 2021 Co., Ltd. (manufacturer and distributor) Tel. 087-545-5692.