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Guangzhou to expand rice inspection

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou |,cn | Updated: 2013-02-27 21:42

Guangzhou has promised to expand inspections on rice and related products after media revealed that more than 10,000 metric tons of tainted rice has been sold in Guangdong province.

Shenzhen Cereals Group Co Ltd purchased the tainted rice from Hunan province in 2009, but the cadmium content of the rice was later found to have surpassed the national standard after the city's bureau of quality and technological supervision launched an inspection, according to Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily on Wednesday.

The local quality and technological supervision department immediately asked relevant departments and companies not to store and sell tainted rice unless it was used for industrial purposes.

But Shenzhen Cereals Group Co Ltd sold the tainted rice for edible purposes for a big profit when local rice prices surged in 2010.

In addition to low-income migrant workers, the rice was mainly sold to rice processing firms to produce rice noodles and related products in Dongguan and other Pearl River Delta cities.

Guangzhou Zhujiang Brewery Group Co Ltd and Guangzhou Jinsiqi Rice and Noodles Co Ltd were also reported to have once purchased the tainted rice sourced from the cities of Changsha, Xiangtan, Yiyang and Changde in Hunan province.

Zhujiang Brewery is one of the largest breweries in South China while Jinsiqi in Guangzhou's Panyu district is also a major food processing firm in Guangdong province. And Jinsiqi exported more than 1 million yuan ($160,577) worth of rice noodles and other food products to bordering Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions annually.

But none of the companies commented the case on Wednesday.

The Guangzhou Bureau of Quality and Technological Supervision and the city's administration of industry and commerce said they would expand inspections on local bazaars and supermarkets in the following days to prevent the tainted rice from being sold.

But none of cadmium poisoning cases have, so far, been reported in the southern metropolis, according to the city's center of disease prevention and control on Wednesday.

Experts from the center said rice mainly absorbs the cadmium from the polluted soil.

"Taking too much cadmium would hurt people's health and even cause cancer," experts said.

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