In addition to action by the government of South Korea to suspend imports and domestic sales of U.S.-grown rice last week, several U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation Friday that calls on the FDA to limit the amount of arsenic permitted in rice and rice-based products.
The RICE Act (Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act) was introduced by U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). The lawmakers proposed similar legislation in February which would require the FDA to establish standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices after a separate Consumer Reports investigation raised concerns about arsenic in juice.
USA Rice Federation is working with the FDA as it looks at the issue of arsenic in rice and supports FDA's guidance that consumers not make any dietary changes because there is no scientific linkage between rice consumption and negative health impacts.
No legislative action has been taken on the juice bill and Congress adjourned last week and will not return until mid-November, so no action is expected on the RICE Act.