• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 11:47am

High cadmium levels found in Guangzhou rice

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 10:20am


  • Yes: 10%
  • No: 90%
18 May 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 489

Nearly half the rice and rice products on sale in Guangzhou contain too much cadmium, a toxin and carcinogen that can damage the kidneys, a three-month investigation by the city's food safety authorities found.

Inspectors from Guangzhou's Food and Drug Administration checked 18 samples from local markets between January and March, and found eight had cadmium levels higher than specified in national food safety standards, the administration's website said on Thursday.

The inspectors also checked other types of food, including cakes, sausages, cooking oil and shark fin, and found them all significantly safer than rice.

The city government declined to disclose any information about the problematic rice, telling the Southern Daily that it was "inconvenient" to reveal the brands involved. The secrecy triggered a national outcry.

On Sohu.com one of the mainland's biggest internet portals, the Southern Daily report received more than 22,000 comments from almost every province and region, making it one of the most discussed topics yesterday. Most comments criticised the government for protecting the interests of businesses rather than residents. Many alleged that officials had been bribed by manufacturers to keep quiet.

"How can you require us to trust … the government, trust the party, if you can't even give us the most basic health?" an internet user from Shandong wrote.

Professor Feng Zhiming , a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in Beijing that the findings had been released too late.

"The rice had already been produced, and a substantial amount of it might have been consumed by either city residents or farmers themselves," Feng said. "The government's effort should be visible at the beginning of rice production rather than at the end, in the market.

"The actual situation could be worse because it is impossible to check every bowl of rice eaten by every resident every day."

Feng said the authorities' reluctance to reveal detailed information about the problem, caused by land pollution, could partly be due to the lack of a source-tracing system for mainland agricultural products. Much rice sold in markets bears no brand at all, and even branded products might put rice from different places into one bag.

Feng said the authorities might also be worried that revealing too much information would trigger panic and could be under pressure from provinces where the rice was produced.

Excessive intake of cadmium can lead to kidney failure, lung impairment, bone diseases and cancer, according to studies. The heavy metal can remain in the body for up to 30 years.


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This article is now closed to comments

Is it possible that the toxic rice was exported as well? Not only for human consuming, they can sold to the pet food manufacturing industry as well. Thus it is not an issue limited in China. It happened once in 2006, pet food in U.S.A found the rice imported from China was contaminated.
When the time is ripe, the government will launch one of the most expensive cleanups in history. Just wait til when unemployment rises higher and the economy isn't meeting the expected quotas. Think about how many jobs that will produce! It's going to happen sooner or later...
Dear Leaders of China,
It's time for those in charge to implement a big clean up all over the country ~ air, food, power abuse etc etc.........???
the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat...
I know I have made similar comments before, but lets face reality, pretty much every consumable in China is tainted or adultered in some way.
Eating anything that is sourced from Mainland China probably psoes significant health risks, if not due to unchecked proliferation of fake and adultered food products, its due to poluttion tained vegetables and now rice. Do yourself a favor and avoid Chinese products. When I travel there, however unbelieveable it sounds, Ibring as much food as I can with me, and no its not mainland sourced food.
Agreed, and it's also hard for me in the NT to buy imported food all the time. When we're having our first child here in 2008 people approached us, and asked if we'd like to be involved in a study to test our newborns blood for melamine. It's always something new here it never ends. No way to live.
Pollution has reached unbelievable levels in China, read "Toxic Capitalism". While the Chinese government is really trying to revert the trend, the cover-ups and corruption, along with the total lack of ethics are the real challenges. In the book, also details on the cadmium scandal in South China... Cadmium in the rivers... No wonder there is cadmium in the rice.
Jon Smith
One question: Do Chinese care about the next generation?
I'm afraid that those who do care, are at the wrong end of governance (/ government).


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