Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 24
By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:
Iranian experts have spent one week in India, checking the country's rice for quality, after health concerns in the country, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on Jan. 24.
The experts were sent to India, after some Iranian officials claimed the rice that is imported to the country from India has high levels of heavy metals, including arsenic.
Arsenic comes in two chemical forms, organic and inorganic. Inorganic arsenic is more common. It occurs in rocks and is a known human carcinogen. Organic arsenic is considered harmless.
Iranian delegation including experts from health ministry, Iranian Rice Importers Society and Iranian MPs completed their studies today, according to IRNA.
"Studying the quality of rice which is imported from India, includes inspection of water, soil, packaging, processing and manufacturing process. That was the purpose of the visit," head of the Iranian Rice Importers Society, Ahmad Beh Hagh said.
Iranian delegation visited India's rice-producing states including Haryana and Punjab. The final results of the investigation will be made public in Tehran after a few more tests, member of the Iranian delegation said.
Earlier in August, Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted deputy head of the Iranian Rice Producers Association, Ali Akbarian as saying the rice which is imported from India and Pakistan into Iran has high levels of arsenic.
A member of Iran's Parliament's Health Commission, Hassan Tamini said in June that the Health Ministry and agricultural ministries have been warned about the issue, but no measures have been taken, and rice has continued to be sold at local markets.
Iran imported some 850,000 tons of Indian rice, worth $1.15 billion in the 2013, which indicates an increase by 133 percent compared to the preceding year.
For the being time about one third of Indian Basmati rice is being exported to Iran.