Thailand Gluten Free information blog
Thailand Gluten Free
The problem with Thai Labels

This is Thailand so it should be no surprise that the Thai people like to read in Thai. To be able to do so they place a nice lable sticker with Thai text on the pre-existing package, which is great, but why they have to place this sticker right on top of the English-text label?

I can read Thai but it takes me a minute to read a Thai label where it would only take me 5 seconds for an English text label. When I go grocery shopping and need to "scan" a few dozen items, those minutes add up. I can imagine it's a disaster for the Celiacs just visiting the country and not being able to read Thai at all.

Before I was able to read Thai, I had to secretly pull off the sticker to reveal the English text underneath. In some cases that would go easy but most of the times that sticker is firmly attached to the packaging and trying to pull it off will result in damaging the packaging and the original label, which sometimes makes it impossible to read the English text. A side-effect is that I have to place the product with damaged packaging back on the shelf which doesn't make me feel comfortable also.

And finally there is all the mistranslation. I often find ingredients translated wrongly in Thai. Once I even found that "gluten-free corn starch" was translated as "Wheat flour" in Thai language. So even if you would know how to read in Thai, it would still be better to rip off the Thai label.

It would be easier for us "foreigners" if the Thai language would at least be written with English-letters but i understand that would not be possible. There are no official rules on how to spell Thai words with English letters, so one branch might use a different spelling than another which could lead to misunderstanding and confusion. Your best strategy would be to learn how to read Thai and I have written a few helpful phrases and words in Thai language that can help you recognize Thai ingredients and understand Thai Labelling.

How to talk Celiac in Thai >>

Thailand Gluten Free