USA Rice Federation's Korean promotions contractor, Sohn' s Market Makers, reports that the South Korean government lifted the import and sales suspensions of U.S. rice after determining it contains insignificant levels of arsenic. South Korea suspended sales of U.S. rice on Sept. 21 following the release of a Consumer Reports article on arsenic in U.S.-grown rice.
"The government has concluded the level of arsenic found in U.S. rice imports does not warrant any safety concerns based on an examination by the Korea Food and Drug Administration," the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a released statement.
The release went on to say the arsenic levels found in 34 samples ranged from 0.064 milligrams per one kilogram of rice (mg/kg) to 0.132 mg/kg. Although South Korea does not have regulations for arsenic in rice, the ministry stated that arsenic in U.S. rice is lower than the maximum level of 0.15 mg/kg allowed in China, which does have a standard for arsenic in rice.
Many South Korean media outlets have reported on the ministry's findings and USA Rice has received confirmation of South Korea's action from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's office in Seoul. USA Rice expects that the previously cancelled rice tender for Oct. 16 will re-open for 10 days, from Oct. 15-25.