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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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Rice in open market safe for consumption

All varieties of rice sold in the open market are safe for consumption, said a spokesman for the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and Agriculture Ministry on Friday.

"Any traces of arsenic, if found, in the rice now sold to the public, is within the levels acceptable here", Assistant Director Agriculture Ministry, Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne told the Sunday Observer. This was endorsed by Director General CAA J.M.U Douglas.

They dismissed rumours that the rice imported from Bangladesh, contained high levels of arsenic averaging 340 mg per kg, (compared to the negligible levels found in Sri Lanka). "We do not generally import agricultural products from Bangladesh since constant floods and digging of wells releases arsenic into the soil.

Rice is not being imported from Bangladesh," Sri Lanka imported rice for the past few months due to a shortfall in crops and will continue until the next harvest, Wijeratne said.

"Our imported rice stocks are usually from Kerala, India.

But since vendors have run out of Ponni Samba, which we usually import, they are now getting down stocks from elsewhere", Douglas said.

Dr. Wijeratne said that most imported stocks were from China, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan as the rice imported from these countries was more suitable for the Sri Lankan palate.

"Since we have been informed of a possibility of rice stocks being imported from countries with high levels of arsenic, we will promptly carry out inspections in warehouses and at the Customs to prevent such rice being sold to the public," they said.

 

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