Developing clean and safe street food with reduced sugars, fats, and sodium and increased in dietary fiber
The Nutrition Association of Thailand and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation had joined to develop street food that is clean and safe with reduced sugars, fats, and sodium. They were also encouraging vendors to pay attention to health. They are promoting street food with more than 60% improved in nutritional value in the following street food locations: Soi Aree, Food Truck in Bangkok, and Ratchabut Market, Ubon Ratchathani Province.
On May 31, 2022 at the Satharanasukwisit Building, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Nutrition Association of Thailand under the royal patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn with Thai Health Promotion Foundation, hold a press conference titled “Project on Nutrition and Environmental Management of Street Food” by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Patcharanee Pavadhgul, representative of the President of the Nutrition Association of Thailand Under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who presided over the ceremony and gave certificates to more than 60 vendors participating in the project.
Dr. Pairoj Saonuam, the Assistant Fund Manager of office of life style promotion said, “street food is unique in that it represents the way of life of Thai people which attracts tourists from all over the world because it is convenient, easily accessible, inexpensive, and appetizing”. However, selling street food had many limitations, especially the control of safety and nutritional value. According to a survey conducted in 2018 by the Nutrition Association of Thailand together with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, it was found out of that 38% of food items randomly collected in Bangkok, the average energy per serving was more than 1/3 of the recommended daily energy intake with total analyzed fat content exceeding 1/3 of the recommended daily intake. In addition, out of all food items randomly checked, less than 1/3 contained the recommended daily fiber intake and contains more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium. As for food safety, it was found that 42% of the food samples were contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms in amounts that are higher than the standard values. This means there was great need to develop street food nutrition and safety
Dr. Pairoj then said the Thai Health Promotion Foundation joined with the Bureau of Food and Water Sanitation, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, to implement a project to develop safe street food management for the purposes of promoting health and supporting Thai tourism by targeting food along the roadside. There were 12 areas for safe street food development in 12 provinces. A new healthy lifestyle model was announced called Street Food Good Health. There was a plan to support the policy of the Ministry of Public Health for the year 2021 by requiring establishments to pass the Street Food Good Health standard in 76 provinces which will help people access clean, safe, and sanitary street food.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rewadee Chongsuwat, the head of the research project, said the objective of the nutrition and environmental management project of street food to develop a criteria and a control system to monitor the quality of street food. Improving the quality of street food in terms of nutrition and food sanitation as well as developing the potential of food vendors by providing street food services that promote health in 3 study areas: Food Truck Bangkok, Soi Aree, Phaya Thai District, Bangkok and Ratchabut market area Ubon Ratchathani Province. There were a total of 59 food items included in the project, divided into: food trucks, 18 items; Soi Ari, 15 items; and Ratchabutr Market, 26 items. The results of the nutritional value study found that there were 61% or 36 items of foods that could improve their nutritional value and 39% or 23 items of foods that did not meet the recommended nutritional criteria. Obstacles in the development of healthy street food may be due to the attitudes, beliefs, and habits of food vendors because of more costs and time to prepare raw materials or ingredients. If the vendors receive continuous communication of nutrition knowledge and receives advice that meets their needs, there may be increased awareness of the sale of healthy street food.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rewadee said that the results of the safety study showed that before the workshop there were 34% or 20 items of food contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms and after the workshop 32% or 19 items of food items were contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. Foods detected were contaminated even after food vendors received training in nutrition and food sanitation workshops. It's always a new food item which does not have pathogenic microorganisms from the previous period where food that was found contaminated. Most of them were partially heated foods and were not heated before serving. Therefore, it is very necessary to encourage stakeholders to both street food vendors and consumers realize the importance of more nutritious and safe street food.
“Developing clean and safe street food containing reduced sugars, fats, and sodium with increases in dietary fiber” is in line with the SDGs Sustainable Development Goals as follows:
Person in charge of the project,
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rewadee Chongsuwat
Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University