Senator targets inorganic arsenic limits in rice

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced the RICE Act
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced the RICE Act

Related tags: United states congress

A US senator has put forward legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set a maximum level of inorganic arsenic in rice and food containing rice.

Rosa DeLauro introduced The R.I.C.E (Reducing food-based Inorganic Compounds Exposure​) Act and said the dangers of arsenic are known and there is no excuse not to take action.

Dr Urvashi Rangan, executive director, at Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center, said it published a study which found concerning levels of inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products.

We applaud Congresswoman DeLauro for her continued work to reduce arsenic in rice, and believe that the RICE Act moves us toward that critical goal.”

The FDA established a limit of parts per billion in bottled water and proposed one of 10 parts per billion in apple juice. However, there are no limits for arsenic in most foods.

Scott Faber, VP of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, called it an ‘important piece of legislation’ to deal with evidence that arsenic contaminates many otherwise healthy foods that contain rice.

“The US government has been slow to take action to address arsenic contamination in food, and this bill is a good step forward in protecting the health and safety of our citizens,” ​he said.

Sandra G. Hassink, American Academy of Pediatrics president, said inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen, and long-term oral exposure to high levels of it is associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Inorganic arsenic has been found in rice and rice products, including the rice cereals often introduced as a baby’s first food,”​ she said. 

“The RICE Act is a critical step to protecting our children from inorganic arsenic exposure, and pediatricians thank Representative Rosa DeLauro for her leadership in championing this legislation.”

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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