National

Agency wants control on
formaldehyde

JAKARTA: The government should put an additive in formaldehyde to prevent food producers from using it in their products, a consumer advocate says.

National Consumer Protection Agency (BPKN) deputy chair Fransiscus Welirang said the additive, known as Bitrex, would add a bitter flavor that would make it apparent formaldehyde had been used as a preservative in food.

“[Producers] still use it to preserve fish, tofu and noodles. The claim that there is no formaldehyde in food products is a lie,” Fransiscus said Tuesday.

He said the agency recommended the addition of the bitter additive to the Industry Ministry, but had yet to receive a response.

“[The government] is still discussing who will bear the cost of the additive, but it is actually not an issue because it is the responsibility of the food producers,” he said.

Formaldehyde is a chemical compound that can cause cancer. Formaldehyde is commonly used to preserve various products, including disinfectants and fertilizers. — JP

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