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Rejected rice export consignments to US are not toxic: officials

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VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese agencies have confirmed that rice export consignments rejected by the US are not toxic or unsafe.

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Le Van Banh, head of the Department of Processing and Trading Agricultural, Forestry, Aquatic Products and Salt under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said the exports were refused because they could not meet some criteria.

The exporters had not carefully studied the requirements set by the US market.

However, he said that the refusal does not mean “Vietnam’s rice contains plant protection chemicals at high levels which can harm people’s health”.

A rice expert said the majority of rice export consignments were rejected by the US earlier this year because the products could not meet the requirements on Isoprothiolane. 

Isoprothiolane is an active element contained in 60 plant protection products allowed to be used in Vietnam to prevent disease on rice. Since the US has not set the MRL (maximum residue limits) for the element, export products must temporarily accept the 0 ppm level, i.e. no Isoprothiolane.

The senior executive of an enterprise in Mekong Delta said its exports were found having Isoprothiolane at 0.014 ppm. With the level, exports to other choosy markets will be accepted. 

Japan, for example, sets the MRL for Isoprothiolane at 2 ppm, while the EU sets it at 0.5 ppm and Taiwan 0.2 ppm.

Vietnamese agencies have confirmed that rice export consignments rejected by the US are not toxic or unsafe.

According to Huynh The Nang, chair of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), of the substances the US has given warnings, there are four without MRLs, namely Isoprothiolane, Hexaconazole, Fenitrothion and Flusicolazole. Therefore, the US will refuse any products containing the substances.

In this case, export countries need to set MRLs and register with the US farm produce import management agencies. Since Vietnam still doesn’t have MRLs for the substances, there is no basis for it to negotiate with the US.

However, experts think that it would be better for Vietnamese farmers and exporters to improve the quality of rice as import countries were increasing technical barriers to imports.

Nang from VFA said that the substances the US has warned about exist in about 3,000 pesticides and…

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