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Rice growers address arsenic concerns

02/21/2012 @ 1:53pm

The California Rice Commission (CRC) and individual growers are addressing recent reports of arsenic being found in rice. The naturally occurring trace element is found throughout  the world and people are exposed to it every day, the CRC report said.

"Many plants, including rice, take up this element as part of the growing process," the report stated.

"The role of arsenic in food and its relationship to health is not well understood," CRC said. "While rice, along with many other foods, contains this naturally occurring element, we understand that rice only contributes a minor amount to a person’s diet."

The group called on the Federal Drug Administration "to help the public and our industry understand this issue better." The industry group also seeks FDA guidance "in developing standard testing methods and appropriate dietary levels."

Lundberg Family Farms, a California rice grower, announced its own efforts to address consumer concerns about arsenic in the food supply. Among its actions the farm will analyze available research in order to make safety recommendations to its customers.

“Issues of food safety and environmental responsibility are what drove my grandparents when they founded Lundberg Family Farms in 1937, and they are central to the way we run the business today,” said Grant Lundberg.  “We share the concerns of our customers when they read reports in the media about studies which find trace amounts of arsenic that occur naturally in products like organic rice.”

Photo: California Rice Commission