Health watchdog asks DA to test rice for possible arsenic
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - July 27, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Eco Waste Coalition, an environmental and health watchdog, has urged the Department of Agriculture to assure consumers that rice being sold in the market is safe from arsenic, a highly toxic cancer-causing chemical.

The group’s proposal for rice sampling came on the heels of a recent recommendation by the Codex Alimentarius Commission that arsenic in rice should not exceed 0.2 mg/kg to protect consumers from excessive exposure.

Codex is an international body established by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization that sets international food safety and quality standards.

Thony Dizon, Project Protect coordinator of the coalition, made this call to DA in order to address consumer concern over arsenic in rice by getting samples of polished rice being sold in the market to determine their arsenic content.

Dizon, in a statement, said that the sampling should cover locally grown rice, as well as rice imported from other countries.

He said that being a rice-eating nation of 100 million people, DA officials need to ensure that all Filipinos, especially the children and other vulnerable groups, have access to safe rice.

Dizon cited that according to Codex, arsenic is present in many foods due to absorption from the soil and water.

Codex noted that rice in particular can take up more arsenic than other foods and due to its high consumption can contribute significantly to arsenic exposure.

Arsenic, which is highly toxic in its inorganic form, belongs to the WHO’s list of “ten chemicals of major public health concern.” —/NSA) (FREEMAN)

ARSENIC CODEX CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIZON ECO WASTE COALITION FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION PROJECT PROTECT RICE THONY DIZON
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