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.