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Rice work if you can get it

A piece of my mind – Co-presenter of Kent Business Radio and co-founder of the Kent Business Tweettups – gives a round-up of local business news. Listen to her show live on www.channelradio.co.uk

MY SCOFF & Quaff radio show is normalty — as the name suggests – focused on eating and drinking. Our debates don’t tend to get more serious than whether a macaron is realty a macaroon, a scone a scon, and whether the jam or crean goes first? So it was a quite a departure to be discussing the rights and wrongs of — rice! What few people tucking into their rice pudding or breakfast cereals realise is that levels of arsenic in manufactured products can be fairly worrying. While the water we drink is heavily regulated to ensure arsenic levels are below a set level, no such standard applies to food. At least for now. New laws are just around the corner that will regulate maximum arsenic levels. It doesn’t go far enough for some.

Herman Suhirman, a rice grower from Mauritius, called in to explain that the levels permitted under new regulations are still too high. He said he wouldn’t give his children well loved breakfast cereals or drinks containing rice because of the danger of long term side effects, among them cancers of bladder, lungs, prosfrate, and cognitive development. This is just one aspect of a major clampdown that’s coming on food standards. From December 13 this year, all restaurants and food-serving venues will be required to set out clearly whether their meals contain any of the 14 main allergens. Ingredients must be available for customers to view either on the menu, a sheet of paper shown to anyone asking, or a public place such as the restaurant’s web site. Rokib Ali, the owner of the Spice Lounge in Faversham and Maharaja in Herne Bay, told me:

“I think these rules are long overdue. As big buyers of rice we take extra care to make sure we’re getting only the best quality ingredients, free from contamination. This is an issue that we’ve been aware of for a long time but it’s completely hidden from the customer, so it’s a relief to me that finally something is being done about it.”

The same principle applies to allergy alerts. He added:

“People need clear information – whether they’re eating from the supermarket or the local café”

To listen to the show, go to www.scoffquaff.co.uk show 66Tweet me @julesserkin, Tune in to my shows @SCOFFQUAFF food & drink show for Kent every Tuesday live 11-12 & 1pm@ businessbunker on www.channelradio.co.uk Listen anytime: www.SCOFFQUAFF.co.uk
Attend free business networking: www.kentbusinesstweetup.co.uk
Follow @kenttweetups for Information.

Herne Bay Gazette, November 19th 2014

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