ALERT: Pesticides, heavy metals found in organic rice

If you think a food declaring on the package that it is organic really is organic and healthy, you definitely need to think again. That has been proven by some unsettling news coming out of the Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) based in Ahmedabad, India. The organization is reporting the discovery of small amounts of pesticides and heavy metals in several brands of rice. The problem? Those products had been labeled and sold as “organic,” “free from chemicals and toxic substances,” or “pesticide-free.” Talk about misleading.

Unsafe levels of toxins

One of the culprit toxins was the pesticide known as chlorpyrifos, and it was discovered to be at an unsafe level in two of the rice products that were tested. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), even being exposed to that pesticide for a short time can lead to problems like nerve and muscle issues, mood alterations, behavior changes, and sleep issues.

Every single one of the brands that was tested contained heavy metals like lead and copper. Although those elements were at levels considered to be safe, it is still not a good idea to be consuming such ingredients.

A leader at the CERC spoke out about this serious issue:

“The very rationale for buying an organic product is to buy a product free of pesticides and chemicals. Moreover, consumers pay a premium for organic products and despite this, they don’t get the proper quality. This is because there are no standards to govern the production and sale of organic food products,” said Pritee Shah, chief general manager, CERC.

Shah also commented regarding the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP):

“Currently, NPOP certifies organic process standards; but it should also certify the final product. While we do encourage promoting consumption of organic products, manufacturers and regulatory authorities must ensure that consumers get quality products. India also needs to follow labeling norms according to global best-practices in the interest of consumers,” added Shah.

The admonition “buyer beware” has never been more true when it comes to buying food anywhere in the world. Consumers must always be on their toes and willing to thoroughly investigate every single product bought with their hard-earned dollars.

What you can do to avoid food toxins

It seems like it’s practically a full-time job just to research, source, and buy healthy food these days. That doesn’t even include the time spent preparing, cooking, and cleaning up from homemade meals. But that is time and effort well spent, because it is such a valuable investment in current and future health.

Thoroughly research every brand and product you are thinking about purchasing to make sure it doesn’t contain hidden toxins. If necessary, call the manufacturers to get more details. Ask for further information. If a food is organic, ask for proof of that. Ask questions about how they test the food for purity. (RELATED: Learn more about pesticides in foods at

Buy local food as much as possible. It is much more possible to hold local farms and companies accountable when they know you can stop by to check out their facilities in person.

Better yet, grow as much of your own food as possible. True, you may not be able to grow foods like rice and other grains, but there is still a lot you can grow outdoors and indoors. It is totally worth it, and there is nothing like the taste and satisfaction that you get from food you grow yourself.

Be safe out there. It certainly is a brave new world when it comes to grocery shopping and trying to feed your family healthy, organic food.



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