Most street food available in Thailand is safe to eat. I’ve never fallen ill after eating a meal from a street-side vendor — including the fruit I often buy from local hawkers. But this AP story today is worth checking out.
BANGKOK — Fruit buyers, beware. A survey of the Thai capital’s ubiquitous fruit carts that sell snack bags filled with juicy watermelon chunks, papaya slivers and exotic treats such as pickled guava has found the fruit also contains unsafe levels of bacteria and chemicals that help keep it looking fresh in Bangkok’s tropical heat.
Results of the study found that 67 percent of 153 samples of fresh fruit contained unsafe amounts of coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria is common in digestive tracts and does not necessarily cause sickness, but its presence may indicate fecal matter, E. coli and other disease-causing organisms.
The study also found that 40 percent of the fruit tested contained anti-fungal agents like salicylic acid.
Sounds like it might be best to stay away from the guavas (pictured) and mango especially:
Of the pickled fruits tested, 64 percent were tainted with hazardous chemicals, mainly color dyes to keep the guavas extra green and the mango slices bright yellow.