Arsenic in Rice: FDA Lacks Standards on Carcinogens in Food

Sep 22, 2012 12:50 AM EDT | By Juan Fernandez

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Handful of rice
Rice imports will be well-tested for arsenic before being sold to the general public. (Photo : Reuters)

There are currently no federal standards for arsenic in rice, rice-based products, and other foods. The R.I.C.E Act proposed by three members of Congress on Friday will require that a limit be set on amounts of arsenic found in rice and rice products.

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"R.I.C.E Act" stands for Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act will require that the FDA set and enforce a maximum level of arsenic found in foods.

"The idea that high levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen, are present in rice, cereal, and other common, everyday foods is absolutely outrageous," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn). "The federal government has an obligation to every American family to ensure that the food they consume is safe and should not make them sick. This is not the first time we have been alerted to the dangers of arsenic, and quite simply we must do more to ensure that our food supply is safe."

A Consumer Reports study has found alarming amounts of arsenic in 60 different rice products. The products range from rice to cereals, chips to milk. The findings showed that arsenic levels varied depending on the soil where the rice had been grown, with aggravated levels of arsenic in rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. Rice from California or imported from South-East Asian countries like Malaysia did not have the same levels, according to the study.

Further coverage on arsenic in rice can be found here:

Arsenic in Rice: Shocking Test Results Reveal High Arsenic Poisoning Risks

Rice and Arsenic: What is Arsenic Poisoning?

Arsenic in Brown Rice: Asians and Hispanic Affected More Than Average American

Arsenic in Rice Milk Causes Worry Among Parents of Small Children

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