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April 24, 2013

Lead in Imported Rice Study Retracted: Is It Safe to Eat?

After conflicting findings from an outside testing facility, the research has been nullified.

Lead has been removed from almost all consumer products, from paint to gasoline, because of its known harmful effects on the human body.

This is why when a report came out indicating that rice from many countries from China to Taiwan and even some sourced from Europe were contaminated with lead levels far above safety standards set by the Food and Drug Administration, it turned heads. The study indicated that children could be exposed to 30-60 times the safe levels, while adults could be consuming 20-40 times the FDA set safe levels.

The first author of the study implicating that lead was prevalent in rice supplies released a statement on April 19. Dr. Tsanangurayi Tongesayi admitted he was having an “issue” with his measuring instruments and recalled his paper.

Rice is grown in fields flooded with water and the plants readily absorb metals that are present in the water source.

Dr. David Janow, a world leading expert in rice processing and agriculture, and advisor to the FDA, said “The absorption of lead in translators has always been a challenge. While there are polluted places in the world where rice fields exist, the standards and technologies to ensure excellent products can be trusted. We recently created a technology which ensures that 50-70 percent of heavy metal residue can be removed. Blanket statements about not trusting “rice from Asia;” a continent that makes up 8.7 percent of the earth’s surface, is not a responsible scientific statement.”

Dr. Tongesayi, who published the original findings made a statement after the rice samples were tested by an outside company using a different method.

The results from one of the places we had sent our samples just came in and all levels are less that 1 ppm using a different method even though XRF results from another lab still gave high values in the ppm range,” said Dr. Tongesayi. “Because of the conflicting results, I will be recalling our accepted paper.” rice.htm#WwkskzD2UM09CZ80.99