Escalating contamination of China’s farmlands has severely decreased rice sales in Hunan, China’s top rice-growing province. And rice elsewhere has been found to be contaminated with lead and cadmium due to irrigation with industrial wastewater, according to recent reports.
Lanxi’s rice market is nationally renowned as the largest in Hunan Province, with more than 200 mills producing about 2 million tons of rice per year. Nearly 80 percent of the rice was being sold to the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, but the poisonous rice scandal has led to the closure of many mills.
The scandal was exposed in a report by Southern Daily on Feb. 27. In 2009, Shenzhen Food Group purchased over 10,000 tons rice from Hunan, but discovered it contained excessive cadmium. However, the report said only 100 tons were returned, and the rest was sold to markets in Guangdong Province at a lower price.
Since the media exposure, Hunan’s reputation has suffered, and rice producers can no longer sell their product.