(NaturalNews) I can now report to you the extraordinary results of our efforts to drastically reduce heavy metals concentrations in rice protein products sold across North America. In a nutshell, we have now received confirmation from nearly every significant manufacturer in the industry that they have agreed to the voluntary heavy metals limits Natural News defined, and a monumental shift is already under way across the industry to improve sourcing of raw materials and / or reformulate products to use lower-metals ingredients.
In the public interest, I published these figures and called on rice protein manufacturers to commit to reducing the levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and tungsten in their products. The proposed new limits were:
Thousands of Natural News readers joined the petition effort. Many of the top manufacturers responded almost immediately in a positive, professional and responsible manner: companies like Garden of Life, SunWarrior, Vega, and Boku immediately said YES to meeting the new limits by the target date of July, 2015.
In the following weeks, we received even more YES answers from a number of companies, including:
- Nutribiotic - Perfect Fit - Healthforce - Sprout Living - Nutribody - Living Fuel - Organic Food Bar
In fact, so far the only company we have not yet received a "yes" from is Jarrow Formulas. Jarrow seems to be conducting a significant amount of due diligence to determine whether they can meet the limits, and they have asked us for more time before they make a decision. This has gone on for several weeks now, and while I can appreciate their effort to do their homework, I can't hold the story any longer. So Jarrow Formulas currently stands in the "maybe" category, with my hope that they will join the effort at some later date (considering they are the only significant manufacturer who has so far not joined the effort).
I personally want to thank all those companies that made the effort to respond to these customer concerns and commit to the voluntary heavy metals limits described here. This is a positive step forward for the entire industry, and it helps improve customer trust across all natural health products.
A breakthrough heavy metals standard for public health and product safety
So the good news is that your support of our efforts -- and your signing and sharing our heavy metals petition -- has been an extraordinary success, achieving the first voluntary heavy metals limit ever announced in the natural products industry.
There's also good news in the fact that many manufacturers have been actively reformulating their products and seeking cleaner sources of rice protein. We have already seen positive developments in this direction, and we expect to see substantially lower levels of heavy metals present in retail rice proteins over the next year or so.
Natural News will continue to conduct off-the-shelf testing of the heavy metals content of rice protein products to determine whether the situation is improving. We do this at our own cost, and we never accept money from outside companies for testing their products. The Natural News Forensic Food Lab is also in the process of achieving ISO 17025 certification / accreditation. ISO 17025 is "the global recognized standard that was developed specifically for testing and calibration laboratories" according to Standards.org.
My ongoing concerns with rice protein
That's the good news, then. On the other side of the coin, there are still issues with rice protein that are worth noting:
• Nearly all the rice protein used in superfoods and supplements sold in North America still comes from China and other Asian nations. To my knowledge, no company offering these products has yet been able to provide its customers an accurate "country of origin" statement for its rice protein materials.
• To my knowledge, there is not yet a rice protein available in the marketplace made from rice grown in the USA. This continues to baffle me, as there is very clean rice grown in California, Texas and Louisiana. The fact that no one has jumped on the huge opportunity to produce made-in-USA rice protein seems odd. Perhaps domestic labor costs are simply too high to make such products economically feasible.
• Many of the manufacturers using this rice protein material describe their material as "sprouted" or "raw." These terms are not regulated by the FDA. My investigation so far into the production process of rice protein leads me to believe this rice is not "sprouted" by a reasonable definition of the word. No one using this material, for example, has been able to produce pictures of the very large sprouting facilities which would be necessary to support the extremely high volumes of this material being sold and consumed. I still have serious doubts about the "sprouted" claim on this material, and I specifically would ask that someone growing this material post a video showing where and how this material is sprouted in the enormous quantities being consumed. This area warrants more investigation...
• Lead, cadmium and tungsten are still present in every rice protein product we've tested so far, at concentrations that consistently exceed those found in pea protein, hemp protein, whey protein or any other protein source we've tested. While I expect this situation to steadily improve, there is without question still lead, cadmium and tungsten in rice protein products sold on store shelves right now at retailers like Whole Foods and Amazon.com. To my knowledge, none of these retailer test the products they carry for heavy metals. The Natural News Store is the only retailer in the world (and on the internet) that tests everything it sells for heavy metals. (Most retailers never do this because it is not required by law. Heavy metals testing is only required by manufacturers of products, not resellers of them.)
The bottom line? Keep reading Natural News for updates over the next 15 months about heavy metals test results for off-the-shelf protein products. Nobody is testing more off-the-shelf foods, superfood and nutritional supplements for heavy metals than Natural News.
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.