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Lower levels of pesticide, heavy metals found in domestically-produced rice

DOMESTICALLY-produced rice has lower pesticide and heavy-metals content than rice produced elsewhere in the region, according to a scientist from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

In a recent webinar, Chief Science Research Specialist Marissa V. Romero said the lower levels of such contamnants were detected in various PhilRice studies.

According to one study, Ms. Romero said Filipino farmers use less pesticide compared to their counterparts in China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Ms. Romero also cited another PhilRice study that compared heavy metals present in various samples of Southeast Asian rice.

“All 20 samples had below the allowed maximum level for arsenic, mercury, and cadmium but four samples from Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand exceeded the limit for lead,” Ms. Romero said.

Ms. Romero said the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards has established a Philippine National Standard for milled rice. The standard establishes the maximum residue limits for pesticides and maximum levels for heavy metals in rice.

She added that a different standard is also in force for specific pesticide residue in rice.

“We are also teaching our farmers to use integrated pest management to protect crops from pests,” Ms. Romero said.

Ms. Romero encouraged consumers to patronize domestic rice for safety and freshness.

“Consumers can be assured that locally-produced rice is safe because it is not being shipped and stored for a long time. There is no need to fumigate them with chemicals,” Ms. Romero said.

Ms. Romero said the Philippines grows traditional and modern rice varieties with various characteristics desired by consumers like aroma, eating quality, and other traits.

“We always have quality rice to offer depending on the quality that consumers look for – from milling, physical, physicochemical, cooking, eating, and nutritional qualities,” Ms. Romero said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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