Formaldehyde, borax in Vietnamese noodles. Yikes! by mattsteinglass
February 9, 2007, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Vietnam

According to Thanh Nien, repeated testing by Vietnamese health authorities almost always turns up traces of formaldehyde and/or borax in pho noodles at street stalls. These are the same noodles one would buy in the supermarket or at the market — it’s a small-scale cottage food processing industry, not big factories — so pretty much any pho noodles you eat in Vietnam are likely to have formaldehyde in them. I’m not entirely clear on the situation with bun or other rice noodles, but I don’t see why they’d be any different.

This led me to stop eating pho entirely for several days. Then I broke down yesterday and went to Bun Cha Hanh Manh… because it is so yummy. But today I checked around and found that the European Food Standards Authority says very small amounts of formaldehyde are okay. So it’s a question of just how much formaldehyde there is in the noodles. Somehow I have little confidence on this count, but I do think some serious freaking research is in order, as I’ve been wolfing this stuff down for 4 years and plan to continue doing so for another 2 — and feeding it to my kids, fer chrissakes.

Anyone got any comment on this???

5 Comments so far
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There was also word that some Chinese chemicals were being used in the Laus so we stayed off it for a week or two. But it might just be some dumb MSG scare (knock on wood). Vietnamese always being wary of what the Chinese will do, with good reason.

Comment by Thông

I dunno Mr. Thirsty. This seems like it could be the real thing to me. We’re going to hire some chemical testers after Tet to see what we can find out…will keep you posted.

Comment by mattsteinglass

I wonder if this is a recent phenomenon and if it has anything to do with the fact that so many people in Vietnam are diagnosed with cancer these days.

Comment by sunsetpeach

It is due to returned and mouldy fresh noodles (pho tuoi) from shops being bleached and reprocessed to be resale.

Comment by Amy

Found your post when I doing a search on Borax found in the cha lua!!!

Comment by Dan

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