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Hi,

I love Thai food and it seems healthier than North American food because it has plenty of vegetables and fruits. However, I wonder how all this food is grown. Is there good enforcement of pesticide use in Thailand? For instance, in North America, the farmer has to wait a number of days after the use of pesticides befoere harvesting so that the custumer eat less poison (pesticide degrade over time). Is this rule followed and enforced in Thailand?

Thanks,

Bulgakov
 
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Terms such as 'enforcement', 'law' etc have a bit of an arbitrary meaning in Thailand. Laws exist, health and safety is an obligation under the law, but enforcement is considerably more hit and miss than in the West. Some time ago there was a big fuss about excessive use of pesticides, and I believe the King intervened, asking people to use other means to protect their crops. No doubt many would have heeded this request, given the Thai people's respect for their King, but who knows for sure. Thailand has such a deeply embedded culture of corruption that you are always taking risks in areas that are much more regulated in the West. Look at the nightclub fire in Bangkok of a year or two back - the site didn't even have a licence to be a club in the first place. Far cheaper for the owners to pay taxes as a private residence. Health and safety? A joke. How did they get away with it? Paying off the right people - over a period of years.

If you think too much about issues like this, then you could spend many sleepless nights worrying whether the restaurant you are eating at uses food past its sell-by date, or if the bamboo scaffolding on the 6-storey building next to your guest house isn't going to collapse on you next time you walk past, or if the steak kebab sold at the food stall over the road isn't in fact dog meat. I don't know about pesticides, but if you stay in Bangkok for a week you'll inhale enough pollutants to kill the bugs on a acre of mangoes for ten years.

It's not a place for those attached to Western standards of health and safety, that's for sure!
 

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I was watching a documentary on tv just last week about this very issue. It seems as though most Asian countries have very little resrictions or enforcement, and the documentary even showed them spraying the cut vegetables in the fields with pesticides while they harvested the remaining crop. I believe that most was filmed in china but if the claims of 4 times higher production because of these practices are true then i would imagine alot are doing it.
 
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