Investigation ongoing following discovery of contaminated rice in China
May 22 2013
Rice from three mills in Central China's Hunan Province has been found to contain cadmium. The rice mills are being investigated after the rice was found to be contaminated last week. The county government has told the mills to cease production and to recall all of their products for testing following the discovery.
The provincial quality inspection agency has been sent samples of the rice being stored in the mills for testing. According to the government all operations at the mills were following legal guidelines and were not responsible for the contamination. The rice is said to have been contaminated prior to its collection from local farmers.
It has been shown by a food safety inspection in the first quarter of the year that of all the rice and rice products in the city of Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province, 44.4 per cent contained excessive amounts of cadmium. Cadmium is a carcinogenic industrial chemical used in the area.
The Guangdong Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that of the 18 batches of rice and rice products included in the testing, eight tested positive for cadmium. The food safety watchdog has also stated that contaminated rice has been found in restaurants and university canteens.
Experts have theorised that industrial water pollution has led to soil contamination in rice-growing areas. The cities that have produced the cadmium-contaminated rice are all located along the Xiangjiang River in Hunan Province.
Hou Yanlin, a soil scientist with the ministry of agriculture, has called for a soil pollution control law to be implemented. He has also said that an early warning system and monitoring system should be put in place by the government in order to ascertain the seriousness of the pollution levels and to see how widespread the contamination is.
Experts are also suggesting that the use of fertilisers and pesticides be limited or avoided as they can often contain heavy metals that lead to pollution.
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