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Congress introduces “R.I.C.E. Act” to Limit Arsenic in Rice after Consumer Reports Investigation

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For release:   September 21, 2012

Members of Congress Introduce “R.I.C.E. Act” to Limit Arsenic in Rice

Following Consumer Reports Investigation

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress announced they are introducing a bill today to limit the amount of arsenic permitted in rice and rice-based products, following an investigation by Consumer Reports that found concerning levels of arsenic in tests of more than 200 samples of rice and rice products.

The R.I.C.E Act (Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act) requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set a maximum permissible level of arsenic in rice and food containing rice.  While there are federal limits for arsenic in drinking water, there are virtually no standards for arsenic in food.

The R.I.C.E. Act is being introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Frank Pallone (N.J.), and Nita Lowey (N.Y.).

Consumer Reports found inorganic arsenic, a known human carcinogen, in most of the name brand and other rice product samples it tested. Levels varied, but were significant in some samples.

“We’re very pleased that lawmakers are introducing legislation that would help set federal standards to limit arsenic in the rice and rice products we eat,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Our tests show that there is a real need for these kinds of limits.  The goal of our report is to inform—not alarm—consumers about the importance of reducing arsenic exposure and offer actions they can take moving forward, such as limiting their rice consumption.  We believe the government needs to regulate arsenic in food, and this new bill in Congress would help establish meaningful limits on arsenic in rice and rice products.”

For more information about the Consumer Reports investigation into arsenic in rice, click here.

Media contacts: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, or Kara Kelber, kkelber@consumer.org202-462-6262