BANGKOK (AP) — Thai health officials are conducting surprise inspections of fresh orange juice vendors around the country after photos posted on Facebook showed a backyard producer adulterating the juice in big plastic tubs.
Thailand's Food and Drug Administration announced the crackdown Wednesday in response to an uproar over the pictures, which showed a couple diluting orange juice with water streamed from a garden hose, and then adding sugar and orange food coloring.
Small plastic bottles, touted as freshly squeezed, are widely sold at street stalls and small shops for 20 baht ($0.55) and up.
Police arrested the couple in Saraburi province, north of Bangkok, on Monday. Depending on the ingredients found in their concoction, they could face up to two years in jail and a 50,000 baht ($1,400) fine. They are already liable for selling a product in a sealed container without proper labeling.
The crackdown has resulted in confiscations from five vendors selling orange juice from carts in Bangkok's Chinatown.
"They were selling their products without labels showing the ingredients, nutritional values and certification from the FDA," said the director of the agency's Bureau of Food, Tipyon Parinyasiri. "We took their identification cards to make sure they don't run off with their carts before the analysis of their products is complete."
FDA Deputy Secretary General Paisarn Dunkhum advised the public against assuming the product is real just because there are oranges and peels nearby.
Some vendors, including those who insist their product is 100 percent pure, said their business has dropped off because of the scandal.