Imported rice safe for consumption: AVA

PHOTO: Imported rice safe for consumption: AVA

SINGAPORE - Regarding concerns about the high levels of lead and arsenic found in US rice imports, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said it would like to reassure all Singaporeans that rice products sold in Singapore are safe for consumption.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, AVA said that metals such as lead and arsenic naturally occur in soil, water and air and they are absorbed by plants and other food sources.

Singapore's food regulations allows for a maximum limit for these metals, set at the lowest possible levels to protect consumers' health.

"To date, our surveillance shows that the levels of metals present in rice products in Singapore are not detected or below the permitted limits," the statement said.

The statement indicated that the reassurance is in answer to recent news reports that the analysis of commercially available rice imported into the US has been found to contain levels of lead far higher than US regulations deem safe.

The study tested packaged rice imported from Bhutan, Italy, China, Taiwan, India, Israel, the Czech Republic and Thailand. It concluded that all samples significantly exceeded the "provisional total tolerable intake" (PTTI) set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There have also been recent studies which have highlighted the presence of arsenic in rice.