Lead in Rice Study Questioned
A review of lead levels in rice met with severe criticism before being retracted.
Since 2002, David Janow has set the standards for rice processing, is a sought after expert by the FDA, USDA and is a founding member of the World Rice Alliance, providing the food industry with clean sources of rice. He notes:
Rice, like other vegetables, fruits and grains is a translocator grown in water, soaking up whatever is in the environment whether naturally occurring or due to pollution. Manufacturers are required to test, especially if sold in California under Proposition 65's guidelines.
There are areas throughout the world where industrial contamination has affected the soil and everything that grows from it can be infested with heavy metals. The Hunan Province of China, where rice is grown, is extremely polluted. However, China is a 3.7 million square mile country with rice fields all over, far away from polluted areas.
Food companies know that lead is an inherent challenge with rice and are careful to source from the most pristine parts fields and change sources if tests show new levels. They create technology to remove additional heavy metals. Rely on the World Rice Alliance for clean sources.
Most rice ingredients are extracted with a highly noxious gasoline product called "hexane." Since 2005, natural enzyme methods have been used by some companies; look for them when buying food products.
In 2012 when a Dartmouth study demonized arsenic in rice, researchers failed to convey the difference between inorganic and organic arsenic, the latter is naturally occurring, posing no known health risk. The study also measured levels in finished products which doesn't single out rice as the problem.
"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% of heavy metal residue can be removed. Blanket statements about not trusting "rice from Asia;" a continent that makes up 8.7% of the earth's surface, is not a responsible scientific statement."
Janow's team spoke directly with Tongesayi who said:
* The rice in the study was sourced from "New Jersey grocery stores."
* The researchers did not identify or disclose where exactly in "Asia, Europe and South America" the contaminated rice originated.
* "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. I will be raising the issue of the XRF instrument with the supplier of the instrument, Innov-x-systems. I have been talking to their technical guys and they were assuring me that everything was okay. It is not the first time that XRF instrument was used for analysis of heavy metals in food with levels of metals reported at levels less than 5ppm. Because of the conflicting results, I will be recalling our accepted paper."