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Toxic Rice at Freeport

Information received by this paper reveals that a ship full of intoxicated Chinese butter rice has arrived in Liberia. The MV ALCMENE is said to have docked at the Freeport of Monrovia, but APM has asked the owner of the ship to go offload at the port of Buchanan.

The 25,000 metric tones of rice is said to been diverted from the Port of Monrovia to that of Buchanan due to the discovery of toxic waste particles cadmium. This follows media report that 10% of the rice cultivated in China is polluted by toxic metals.

“Up to 10% of the rice cultivated in China is contaminated by heavy toxic metals dispersed in nature, uncontrolled consequences of rapid industrial growth.” The French News Agency AFP reported on Wednesday.

According to the agency, a weekly paper, Nouveau Siècle, reported that a huge quantity of the Chinese rice was contaminated years ago by these metals such as the cadmium, but Chinese authorities failed to alert on the danger that could cause to the consumers. The paper’s report was based on scientific reports made in 2007.

“These heavy toxic metals spread in air, polluting a large part of the Chinese territory.” The paper indicated, adding that “a complete chain of food contamination has been going on for years.”

Of all the cereals, the rice has the highest capacity of taking cadmium that is found in the irrigation water of rice field following the streaming of mines, mainly lead-tin mines. The rice is the main food in China, a country that produces more than 200 million tones of it per year.

Pan Genxing, one of the scientists who took part in the analysis, confirmed to the AFP that the quantity of the cadmium in some cases was higher.

“In the zones of high acid soils known to be gravely contaminated, we discovered that 60% of the samples we took had a quantity of cadmium beyond our expectation.” He said to the AFP, adding “that can be a potential risk for the health.”

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Cadmium is a substance well known to be toxic and carcinogen (gives cancer) that accumulates in human body throughout your life, with serious impacts on the kidney, the bones and the liver.

The accidental discharges of toxic products with grave consequences for the health are frequent in China, where the respect for the environment is sometimes sacrificed for the sick of economic growth.

Liberia is one of the major consumer of Chinese butter rice in Africa. This cereal is the stable food of the country.

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