(NaturalNews) Immediately after Natural News shocked the natural products industry by revealing significant levels of heavy metals in rice protein products, several of the smaller manufacturers got together to try to figure out how to counter scientific facts with public relations spin.
Three nights ago, a secret phone meeting was held among several of these smaller companies, and in that meeting they decided to counter my scientific research and laboratory results with a public relations campaign. The tactic of the campaign would be to convince customers that all heavy metals in rice protein products were "naturally occurring" and therefore don't count. If it's "natural," after all, what could be bad about it? (Monsanto, of course, makes the same claim about GMOs.)
So I decided to put that claim to the test. Does all rice show high heavy metals concentrations because these metals are "naturally occurring" in all soils?
California rice put to the test
To determine this, I acquired and tested the following rice products grown in California by Lundberg Family Farms:
California Sushi Rice California white Jasmine Rice California Brown Jasmine Rice Brown Short Grain Rice
All four of these rice products were certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.
If all rice "naturally" contains high levels of heavy metals, then we would expect to see these rice tests showing at least 100 ppb of lead and possibly 400 ppb cadmium, which is still far lower than the levels we found in rice protein (which is somewhat more concentrated than raw rice). After all, the rice proteins we tested are derived and concentrated from rice, and if the metals are present in the final protein then they must also be present in the rice at substantial concentrations.
Actual lead levels detected in California-grown rice:
California Sushi Rice: .003 ppm (considered "zero") California white Jasmine Rice: .003 ppm (considered "zero") California Brown Jasmine Rice: .002 ppm (considered "zero") Brown Short Grain Rice: .005 ppm (considered "zero")
Actual cadmium levels detected in California-grown rice:
California Sushi Rice: .009 ppm (considered "zero") California white Jasmine Rice: .006 ppm (considered "zero") California Brown Jasmine Rice: .012 ppm Brown Short Grain Rice: .003 ppm (considered "zero")
Actual mercury levels detected in California-grown rice:
California Sushi Rice: ZERO California white Jasmine Rice: ZERO California Brown Jasmine Rice: ZERO Brown Short Grain Rice: ZERO
Compare this to the levels I found in the imported rice protein I tested:
Lead: over .500 ppm Cadmium: over 1.800 ppm Mercury: over .040 ppm
If you made rice protein from California-grown rice, it would have virtually zero heavy metals
What's obvious from all this is that if you made rice protein from California-grown rice (Lundberg Family Farms), you would have very clean rice protein with very low concentrations of heavy metals.
That's because the rice itself is very clean, showing extremely low levels of heavy metals (virtually undetectable for lead, cadmium and mercury).
So why don't any of the rice protein companies buy rice protein from California? Because nobody in the USA makes rice protein. It's all made in Asian countries like China, Vietnam and Cambodia. There simply is no producer in the USA left anymore because it's cheaper to grow rice and process rice in countries where labor costs are dirt cheap and environmental standards are virtually non-existent.
Case closed on "naturally occurring" argument
I don't have anything against rice protein. My argument is with the level of industrial pollution that exists in many areas where rice is grown.
If you grow clean rice in a nation (or state) with real environmental controls, you get clean rice protein as a result. This California Lundberg rice is proof of it.
So the question everyone should be asking right now is, "Why doesn't somebody make rice protein in the USA from rice grown in the USA?"
And the answer to that, by the way, is because the costs of conducting business in a region with strict environmental regulations (like California) are of course significantly higher than the costs of conducting business in nations where industrial pollution controls are routinely ignored. Rice is cheaper to grow and cheaper to sell when there's no EPA around enforcing environmental regulations, in other words. Low production costs gives Asian exporters an economic advantage over U.S. farmers who simply can't remain competitive while adhering to strict California regulations.
Ultimately, the reason so many vegans are eating unnecessarily high levels of lead, cadmium and mercury right now is because that's what makes many products cheaper to manufacture and sell and therefore more affordable and acceptable to the marketplace.
Every consumer who shops for protein products based on price alone actually contributes to this problem. If you shop based on price without considering the country of origin, you are effectively voting for low-cost foods made in regions with little or no environmental regulations (and therefore higher industrial pollution affecting agriculture).
If you buy rice protein, you are not buying local or eating local
Personally, I find it fascinating that the natural products movement which is so concerned with local foods seems so infatuated with proteins imported from half-way around the world. You cannot get farther away from North America than the countries where rice protein comes from. Unless somebody starts growing food on Mars, anyway.
I am also truly fascinated by the fact that so few people have asked basic, commonsense questions about rice protein products such as:
1) What is the country of origin? 2) If all this protein is truly "sprouted," then where is this massive sprouting facility which must be larger than a football stadium? 3) Why can't somebody in America produce rice protein that's virtually free of heavy metals? The rice itself already exists thanks to Lundberg Family Farms... it seems like lots of customers would gladly pay more for a rice protein that's certified free of heavy metals.
Then again, I've been called a "crazy activist blogger" for daring to ask such questions. Somehow I'm a bad person for expecting basic accountability in the very same industry that I helped create and promote for well over a decade.
But let's be honest: If anybody has earned the right to ask questions of the natural products industry, it's myself. And I intend to keep asking those fundamental commonsense questions again and again and again until we all get some real answers instead of denials and spin.
Thank goodness the rice protein industry leaders have already taken a firm stance on slashing levels of heavy metals in their products over the next 18 months. After all, this issue isn't going away anytime soon. People care about what they eat, and the internet means products cannot keep secrets from the public. Everything in your product eventually becomes public knowledge one way or another.
Sign the Health Ranger's petition to demand clean rice protein!
Join my demand for clean rice protein by signing my petition. Over 1,000 people have already signed it and I haven't officially announced it yet. I'm aiming for 25,000 signature so I need your help to send this grassroots message to the rice protein manufacturers across North America.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.