Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Super Rice Is Not Just Super Expensive

There is a new kind of rice on market in China. It is claimed to be super healthy. It is packed with superxoide dismutase (SOD) that consuming a cup of this rice results the equivalent of taking 4000 Vitamin E pills! It is also super-expensive: it is selling at a price of 30 times of that of regular rice.

The manufacturer of this rice, CEB Rice (德润生), advertises its product as a technology breakthrough that was originated in China and unique in the world. Their technology is called Cell Endophyte Bacteria (CEB), a microbe that live within a cell of plant. The company was able to create a new kind of rice, whose cells contain rich CEB, which in turn contains large quantity of SOD. The company claims that every kilogram of its rice contains 300,000 units of SOD.

Fang Zhouzi and others have been quick in criticizing the various claims of CEB rice. In a recent radio interview, Fang pointed out that CEB was not originally discovered in China, as the company literature has claimed. It was first discovered near the end of 19th century and then in the mid-20th century, all abroad. The two scientists in CEB rice, credited for their discovery, are both unknown in scientific community. CEB has been studied for fertilization and drug purposed, but never as a nutrient. There is no scientific literature on CEB's effect as a nutrient.

SOD, on the other hand, is a type of protein. As all protein, it loses its potent after being heated, which is essential when consuming rice. Proteins are also digested and cannot maintain their original effects.

If the company's claims were true that consuming a cup of this rice is equivalent of taking 4000 Vitamin E pills, then the result would be terribly, as Vitamin E overdose is very dangerous.

Facing the criticisms, CEB Rice has been unusually quiet. But as the sale of their expensive rice starts to decline, they are taking legal actions. Beijing Youth Daily reported that CEB Rice has sued Fang Zhouzi in court. The company spokesman is quoted as saying: "For so long, Fang Zhouzi has been judging our product based on his own knowledge. He has criticized us in many media outlets. He has also published these irresponsible words in his blog. We have been collecting the evidences and are ready to solve the problem with legal means."

Meanwhile, Fang Zhouzi claims that he has not learned about the lawsuit. He will decide whether to respond it based on the content of the suit. "If it will benefit the fraud-busting efforts, I will respond and defend myself."

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