Borax in Food Products

August 31, 2013

Perjuanganku lebih mudah karena mengusir penjajah, tapi perjuanganmu akan lebih sulit karena melawan bangsamu sendiri.

1st President of The Republic of Indonesia

The quote above when translated in English means, My fight was easier, because fought the invaders. But, yours would be more difficult, because of fighting your own nation. The word nation here means, my fellow countrymen, in other word, the invaders are the Indonesian people themself.

For examples, some bussiness owners slaved their employees, by not paying the salary, or by paying the salary, below the government minimum payment regulations. Terrorism acted by some Indonesian, who had made other Indonesian, and foreigners in Indonesia, died or suffered.

The freedom of having a faith or religion is still in chain. It is so easy to build a mosque in Indonesia, but way too hard to build a church. Even just to build a fence for church's parking-lot, must wait for the IMB (Ijin Mendirikan Bangunan), or a building permit by the local authority. Food products made by small home industry, which contain toxic substances, such as, formaldehyde and borax.

In my earlier post, I had already described the use of formaldehyde in food products. In this post, I will describe how my fellow countrymen used borax, which freely sold in the traditional market, as food additive.


Borax, or also known as sodium borate, dissolve easily in water. According to Peraturan Menteri Kesehatan Republik Indonesia (Regulation of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia) No. 722/MenKes/Per/IX/88, Indonesian government forbade the use of borax, and its derivatives (boron and boric acid), as foods additive. However, borax is easily found to be sold in nearest traditional market.

I assume that the freely sold borax is meant for other uses, such as, for making glass, pottery, and ceramics. Borax possess antifungal properties, which is useful to treat fungal foot disease, Athlete's Foot, and candidiasis, by soaking the foot in the mixture of water and borax. Borax is also used as disinfectant to kill bacteria, and germs.

Borax may use as natural ant killer. To make your own ant traps, mix a tablespoon of honey, borax and sugar. Place the mixture in a bottle. Then, place the open bottle, in open area where there are ants. The ants will take the mixture back to its nest as foods, and will kill the entire colony. ([PDF] Pesticide Alts Eng)

Borax in Lontong


Lontong, an Indonesian rice cake, is made by compressing rice cake which wrapped using banana leaves. Lontong is widely known as traditional Indonesian cuisine. But, some lontong makers add borax as a preservative, to make lontong more chewy, or elastic, and last long to be sold.

The original lontong which is made without borax, will be watery after a day period. But, last week, my mom ordered 100 pieces of lontong, in traditional market, for the 68th Indonesian Independence feast. Curious with the lontong that my mom bought, I kept a piece of lontong, in dining table, to be left for three days. You know what, it did not even watery, infact when I touched it, the lontong was harder in the outer skin.

A study using the spectrophotometric method was demonstrated to examine ten samples of lontong, which was sold, in Setu district, Bekasi, West Java. Amazingly, all ten samples were contained with borax at the levels between 220.23 parts per million (ppm) and 314.58 ppm. The study suggested that the Indonesian government should provide more information about the danger uses of borax as food additives. (Nugroho A J, 2011)

Borax in Tempe Chips

tempe chips
Tempe Chips

Tempe, a traditional soy product origin from Indonesia, is made by a fermentation process of soybeans. Tempe is popular ingredient for many Javanese dishes, foods, and snacks, such as, oseng tempe, kering tempe, tempe bacem, tempe mendoan, and tempe chips.

Last Sunday news from Reportase Investigasi, a local TV news program, in TransTV, was informed that all six samples of tempe chips, which were randomly bought, including a sample that was bought in a snacks store, were contained with borax.

Just like borax in bread, in my previous post, all six tempe chips were also tested in laboratory. Small pieces of all samples, when added with a flame produced a green color.

From the interview with a naughty tempe chips maker, and also supported with the video record, it was shown that the maker mixed borax into the flour, which used to cover the tempe before being fried.

Moreover, the scientist who tested the samples, at Sucofindo laboratory, was found that some tempe chips samples were also contained with plastic material. It was shown that some tempe chips maker had melted the plastic container of the frying oil, in the frying pan, before frying the tempe.

The melted plastic in the frying oil, will make the frying oil able to be used many times, and also make tempe chips more crispy. That makes double poison additives inside the tempe chips, borax and plastic.

Image credit: &

Related articles:

Bread Cancer Trigger

Danger Threatened in Seafood Dishes

Formaldehyde Chicken Satay

Formaldehyde on Food Products

Healthy Labelled Foods

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