Iranian official: Imported rice from India and Pakistan contaminated with arsenic

Business Materials 19 August 2013 11:59 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug.19/ Trend F.Karimov/

The rice which is imported from India and Pakistan into Iran is contaminated with arsenic, Tasnim News Agency quoted vice chairman of the association of Iranian rice growers Ali Akbarian as saying.

He criticized the low price for buying rice from domestic farmers, which is less than half of the price which is sold in the market, adding that brokers make huge profits through selling rice at higher prices.

Studies show that this year's rice harvest will be over 2.2 million tons, he said, adding that some 700,000 tons of rice should be imported to meet the domestic need.

Iranian farmers are complaining about irregular imports of rice from India and Pakistan, he said.

A member of Iran's Parliament (Majlis) Health Commission, Hassan Tamini said on June 2 that some of the imported rice is certainly contaminated with chemicals like arsenic.

Importing contaminated rice is a serious problem, the Khabaronline website quoted Ta'mini as saying.

Majlis has warned the Health Ministry and the Agricultural jihad ministries about the contaminated rice, but unfortunately nothing has been done and the contaminated rice are being presented at the markets, the lawmaker explained.

It is not the first time that the government imports contaminated rice from Pakistan and India, Tamini added.

Previously Massoumeh Ebtekar, the sitting Chairperson of the Tehran City Council Environmental Commission, had confirmed that imported rice are contaminated with arsenic.

Head of Iran's Rice Guild Association said in December that the imported Indian rice may be contaminated with chemicals like Arsenic.

There are rumors that the Indian Basmati rice which have been imported recently are contaminated with chemicals and some Indian officials have implicitly confirmed the claim, the Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.

Iran imported some 537,000 tons of rice, valued at around $609 million, in the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20.