October 14, 2009 New Delhi
The statement in the Iranian press that the Pusa Basmati 1121 rice grains are genetically modified and are contaminated with heavy metals levels causing ill health are erroneous, incorrect and misleading.
It is hereby categorically stated based on the analysis of the market samples of Pusa Basmati 1121 rice done on highest precision levels of parts per billion (ppb) scale at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, that the rice is absolutely safe for consumption and they do not contain heavy metals like Arsenic or contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium and nickel at so low levels which cannot cause any harm or ill-effect on human health even on daily consumption.
Delhi based the Indian Agricultural Research Institute under Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the developer of the variety Pusa Basmati 1121, has carried out detailed analyses of heavy metals in grain samples of Pusa Basmati 1121 obtained from the market using graphite furnace version of Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer at highest precision level of parts per billion (ppb).
It is further stated that, there is no genetically modified (transgenic) Basmati rice released or commercialized in India. Therefore, the question of Pusa Basmati 1121 being genetically modified does not arise.
There is no reason for rice industry and farmers to panic about the said Iranian press report on heavy metal contamination in Pusa Basmati 1121. The farmers of India who were able to produce the quantity required despite the drought situation should deservingly get a sustainable and right price commanded by the variety that is the most priced commercial rice on the market.
Pusa Basmati 1121 was released for commercial cultivation in 2003. This variety presently occupies nearly 0.9 million ha area (60% of the total area under Basmati rice cultivation) and contributes approximately 60 % (0.9 million tons) of the total Basmati rice export (1.5 million tons) from India and it is understood that a big chunk of this goes to Middle East countries. This variety contributes 60% (Rs. 5,000 crores) of the total forex earning through Basmati rice export from India and has brought prosperity to millions of Basmati rice farmers in the Indo-Gangetic plains.