'New research has revealed that samples of imported rice sold in the retail markets in the U.S. contain levels of lead that are higher than permissible levels, according to a report by the BBC.The study was conducted by Dr. Tsanangurayi Tongesayi of Monmouth University in New Jersey, US, and his team. The study found that lead levels in some samples exceeded the "provisional total tolerable intake" (PTTI) set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by a factor of 120. High levels of lead can affect the kidney, brain and other parts of the human body.Rice from Bhutan, Italy, China, Taiwan, India, Israel, the Czech Republic and Thailand were used in the tests, and almost the samples had high levels of lead. "When we compared them, we realized that the daily exposure levels are much higher than those PTTIs," said Dr. Tongesayi. "According to the FDA, they have to be more than 10 times the PTTI levels (to cause a health concern), and our values were two to 12 times higher than those 10 times," he told BBC News. Tests on imported rice from other countries are in the process'.
'According to the research, rice from China and Taiwan had the highest lead levels. One of the reasons why rice samples contained high lead levels is the fact that some countries use raw sewage effluent and untreated industrial effluent to irrigate rice fields, said Dr. Tongesayi. He added that there is a need for international regulations over production and distribution of food grains'.
'Update 24 April 2013: This story has been amended to emphasise the preliminary nature of the results, which are under review both by the authors and the journal to which they were submitted for publication'.
'A recent scientific paper that concluded imported rice was heavily contaminated with lead has been suddenly withdrawn by its author. Natural News has confirmed from the author, Monmouth University Chemistry Professor Tsanangurayi Tongesayi, that the paper is "recalled until further notice."
'Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh has signed a rice deal with the Philippines, as Cambodia tries to find new markets for its increasing supplies of domestically milled rice'.
'A U.S.-based energy company has announced that it is planning a biomass project using genetically modified rice in Cambodia, in a purportedly massive deal about which little information has been made public'.
'According to the statement, Sino Bioenergy’s “super rice” seeds, which are produced in laboratories, “are disease resistant, high yielding genetically improved rice with the transgenic rice grain length increased by 25% over normal rice.”'.
'The company’s [Sino Bioenergy] listed phone number in Hong Kong connected to a person who declined to give her name, but said, “Sino Bioenergy is using our registered address. This is not their office.”'
'To enhance Cambodian rice yields, the government should encourage private development of rice-seed production and focus its efforts on farmers’ education and regulations that ensure the quality of seed, industry experts say'.
'After a number of attempts, MAFF declined to comment.'
'Building an industry based on a uniquely Cambodian standard will give rice producers a clear target to work towards and instil confidence in buyers, said a panel of both government and private sector representatives at a rice quality workshop in Phnom Penh on Tuesday'.
'If Cambodia’s rice export sector were to reach its full potential, it could produce 3 million tons of milled rice, with the total export value amounting to $2.1 billion (approximately 20% of the GDP) and an estimated additional $600 million (approximately 5% of the GDP) to the national economy. It would also boost employment and income for agricultural farmers who make up more than 70 percent of the population living in rural areas'.
'Most Cambodian farmers cultivate paddy rice once per year during the rainy season, while farmers in Vietnam’s delta region cultivate 3.5 times annually. Such low productivity is mainly a result of high energy prices and poor transportation infrastructure'.
'Come clean [on rice pledging]Finally, the government has agreed to accept the hard truth that it can no longer buy every grain of paddy from rice farmers as promised when it launched the populist rice pledging scheme two years ago'.
'As the government is able to continue to release rice from the stockpiles, he said, the country should be able to get some return the total outlay of Bt410 billion during two years of the pledging programme'.
'Korbsook Iamsuri, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), said it remains difficult to assess whether the government could sell its rice stocks, as it has yet to call an auction for exporters'.
'A source from a giant rice-export company said the government should release its older stockpiles for use in feed-meal production, to make way for new-harvest rice that will need to enter the warehouses.
"The government needs to clear its rice stocks urgently, in particular rice from previous harvests since 2005 because it is deteriorating in quality. These rice stocks could be used for supplying feed-meal producers," said the source'.
'Rather than sell the rice on the open market—and risk embarrassment as private dealers see the haircut the government is taking—Thailand is trying government-to-government deals that allow buyer and seller to keep prices secret.
'Researchers Lawton Lanier Nalley, an associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and his research assistant Nathaniel Lyman concluded that hybrid rice cultivars are found to have significant yield advantages over the best-performing conventional alternative'.
'China will launch a special scientific research project to develop a new super rice strain, expected to produce a bumper harvest of 14.9 metric tons a hectare, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said on Tuesday'.
'Ping likened these grains into cascades of water that stream toward a bounty, have potential yield of 13.5 tons per hectare'.
'Public sector institutes like Rice Research Institutes of Kala Shah Kaku and Dokri have failed to develop new successful and popular hybrid rice varieties during the last several decades of their existence.
As a result the basmati export is decreasing day by day'.
'Experts said that massive electricity loadshedding and gas management has hit its business like never before. As per estimates, power loadshedding has reduced the milling capacity by 50 per cent. Gas management has been exceptionally delayed drying process. Both of them have very badly affected the entire chain — drying, husking and milling — up to 50 per cent, making it hard for them to meet export orders even when they have them.
Two other factors are high domestic prices and loss of Iranian market, which was the biggest for Pakistani rice.'