Southern China Tightens Scrutiny on Rice Tainted with Cancer-Causing Cadmium05-22 00:00 财经网
Quality inspectors in southern China have unveiled the latest results of sample tests after a previous sample test indicated that half of the rice sold in the region was contaminated with cadmium, amid growing public anger and distrust in the latest food scandal.
New sampling results have painted a better picture, which show 11 of 762 samples tested by Guangdong Bureau of Quality Inspection in local markets contained excessive levels of cadmium, a carcinogenic metal that can wreak havoc on the body's kidneys.
Testing by the provincial Industrial and Commercial Bureau found that 20 of 322 samples, or 94.2 percent, were tainted by cadmium, and that most of them are from the adjacent Hunan Province.
Accompanied with the release, the Industrial and Commercial Bureau has also disclosed names of some of the rice makers and dealers in the first ever detailed disclosure.
On April 16, the Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration said of 18 batches of rice tested during random quarterly checks, eight were found to contain excessive amounts of cadmium.
Anger erupted not only because of the fact that China's staple food hasn't escaped the widespread pollution tainting its air, water and soil, but also because of government's secrete handling of the incident, and in some cases, holding on to data using state-secret argument.
A college student reportedly sent a letter to the Guangdong Food and Drug Administration, demanding information disclosure after officials rejected requests to publish the names of canteens and restaurants using tainted rice.
"It was indeed improper to disclose only sample test results before," Director of the administration Yao Jianming said on Wednesday, according to the state-run CRI.
Yao vowed to increase transparency in similar disclosures next time, and said the scope of the sample tests will be expanded in further inspections.
Food safety is a particular concern in China, partly a result of the use of industrial water waste for irrigation, dumping of industrial waste and overapplication of fertilizer which contaminate the soil in which food is grown.
Roughly 10 percent of all rice sold in China is tainted by cadmium, a 2011 research conducted at Nanjing Agricultural University showed. In 2006, the country's Ministry for Environmental Protection launched a nationwide soil-pollution survey, which was to have been concluded in 2010. But earlier this year the ministry rejected requests by a Beijing lawyer to see the results, citing "state secrets."
Cadmium is the latest culprit in a succession of food safety scandals in China. Chinese polices officials said this month they caught traders in eastern China who had made fake mutton using rat, fox and mink flesh adulterated with chemicals.
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