Chinese rice not contaminated with Cadmium: Health Watchdog

Vietnamese consumers have been concerned with news reports of Chinese rice being contaminated with Cadmium; however, health watchdogs said Vietnam has not discovered any such toxic substance in the rice.

Recently, the Guangzhou City Municipal Food and Drug Administration posted reports on its website that 44.4 percent of rice and rice products sold in the country contained traces of toxic Cadmium that exceed government permissible limits.

This is not the first time Chinese rice has been found contaminated with a cancer causing agent. In 2011, Chinese TV announced test results of rice conducted by Nanjing Agricultural University that about 10 percent of all rice grown and sold in China had failed to meet government standards.

Pham Van Bay, Deputy Head of Vietnam Food Association, said the country has imported small quantities of rice from Thailand and Taiwan (China) but this rice is of high quality.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, total legal rice imports were 5,800 tons in 2011; 27,600 tons in 2012 and nearly 13,000 tons in first six months of 2013. This is really a small amount as the country consumes around 19-20 million tons a year.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, Head of the Plant Protection Department, said that after news of Chinese contaminated rice was released, the department has asked its sub-divisions to conduct tests at border gates.

Chinese health watchdogs said rice is toxic because water from contaminated rivers, lakes and streams is diverted into the region’s rice fields, where metals penetrate the soil and affect the crops.

Cadmium is a lustrous, silver-white substance that the U.N. Environmental Program website calls “a toxic element for humans, mainly affecting the kidneys and skeleton”. Currently there are no methods to detoxify Cadmium effectively.

By Phuc Van – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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