Distributed by Al Sultan Food Stuff: 24 tons of “carcinogenic” rice sold in markets

March 7, 2024



In the first half of last year, tons of “carcinogenic” rice were imported into Lebanon without the approval of the Customs Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture. These shipments were later discovered missing from the warehouses of the importing company owned by businessman Imad Al-Khatib, only to be found out that they had ended up in the stomachs of consumers!

In detail, businessman Imad Al-Khatib imported 24 tons of rice a year ago and pledged to the Customs not to sell it pending laboratory analysis to ensure its safety. The results of tests on a sample of rice showed that it was “non-compliant with specifications due to containing agricultural pesticide residues higher than the allowable limit”, and therefore considered “carcinogenic”, according to an engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture who inspected it. However, inspection of Al-Khatib’s warehouses revealed that the carcinogenic goods were indeed sold in the market.

The Financial Public Prosecution settled for fining the company “Sultan Food” owned by Al-Khatib with an amount of $40,000, after hearing from the company’s owner, his sister who serves as the company’s director, the procurement officer, and the warehouse keeper.

Who is Imad Al-Khatib?
Imad Al-Khatib has a record full of lawsuits and scandals in the field of public procurement and tainted food, benefiting from his closeness to the Presidents Saad Hariri and Nabih Berri to obtain commitments and pass violations. He was a candidate for the Future Movement in the district of Hasbaya in 2018.

The carcinogenic rice is not Al-Khatib’s first scandal. He is currently accused by the Financial Public Prosecution of squandering public funds in the file of maintenance and cleaning of the Beirut Municipality building. He is also accused of squandering six million dollars in the file of landscaping services that were supposed to be provided for the benefit of the Beirut Municipality.

Al-Khatib is also the protagonist of the scandal of the Mufti Hassan Khaled Park, after obtaining a contract to build a garage in place of the park. The judiciary is currently investigating files such as: stealing soil from the park, replacing and stealing mature trees, and circumventing public money by suspending the contract execution and attempting to recover the amounts previously received in lira after the exchange rate collapse.