Commerce Min rebuts toxic rice export rumours

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BANGKOK, 29 August 2013 The Commerce Ministry has presented fresh evidence to deny a report that importers in the U.S. rejected a shipment of Thai rice due to toxic contamination. 

During the House session today, Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach responded to an MP’s query about a report that the U.S. had declined to accept the shipment of 32,000 kilograms of Thai rice exported to the country. He clarified that the lot had to be sent back to Thailand as the appearance and fragrance of the rice did not match the importers’ specifications.

The deputy minister cited recent tests by the Food and Drug Administration as showing that the rejected rice was free from toxic contamination.

However, the news of the rejection has exacerbated public concerns over the quality of Thai rice as it came on the heels of a previous discovery of an excessive amount of chemical residue in rice packs sold in the country.

At the House meeting, Mr Yanyong also informed MPs that during the first round of rice pledging, the government accepted 14.5 million tons of rice and paid out a total of 230 billion baht to the farmers. 3.4 million households participated in the project. During the second round, 580,000 households have pledged their rice with the government so far and have received about 92 billion baht.