Friday, September 21, 2012

Delauro to legislate the arsenic in rice

Third District congressperson Rosa DeLauro said in a release today that she was planning to legislate rice. Or, well, the arsenic contained in rice.

Yes, there is arsenic in rice (and old lace), at least according to a recent Consumer Reports investigation.

“The idea that high levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen, are present in rice, cereal and other common, everyday foods is absolutely outrageous,” DeLauro said Friday in a release. “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. This bill is a step in that direction.” 

DeLauro will introduce the RICE Act with Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).

“The recent Consumer Reports investigation finding of measurable amounts of arsenic in a range of rice products is cause for concern for consumers, and parents in particular,” Pallone said. “The health risks associated with inorganic arsenic as a carcinogen are widely known and there absolutely should be a federal arsenic standard for rice products similar to those for bottled water.”

“Ensuring the safety of our food supply is among the most important responsibilities of the federal government,” Lowey said. “It is inexcusable that no standards exist to keep arsenic, a known carcinogen, out of rice and rice-based products like cereal. This legislation will help protect families from this unacceptable risk.”

As the release says, "The R.I.C.E Act (Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act) requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set a maximum permissible level of arsenic in rice and food containing rice. FDA currently has standards for bottled water, but nothing else."

The Consumer Reports investigation found arsenic in more than 200 samples of rice and rice-based products. Arsenic is known to contribute to the likelihood of developing multiple cancers and other serious health problems.

This isn't the first time that DeLauro has attempted to limit the consumption of arsenic found in common food items.

In February, the three legislators introduced the Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012 or “APPLE Juice Act” which would require the FDA to establish standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices.

Initiatives no one could vote against, particularly with those spiffy acronyms.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other news there is sodium and chlorine in salt. Arsenic occurs naturally and is found in peaches as well. Could it be that the tests are too sensitive and some people buy into that zero tolerance nonsense? I've already spoken to Laura at a meet the legislator event about weighing risks before banning something.

And why doesn't this let us post under the same name we use for the rest of the Ragister? The capcha is buggy and there is no publish button if you mistype unless you hit edit post.

September 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM 
Blogger Jordan Fenster said...

Hey,
It works under a different system This is a blog, hosted by Blogger, which decides how comments work. It's just linked to the Register site, and uses the masthead. I can't help the captcha problem, either, but I always copy (ctrl c) my comments (on any site) before I post one, just because they're usually buggy.
Sorry I can't help more.
Jordan Fenster - jfenster@nhregister.com

September 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just needs to have Discus added to the log-in options.
A trade-off of captchas is they are often more trouble than they're worth according to some security experts. A simple question is sufficient against robots. If a website follows web standards, there shouldn't be a difference what OS or browser one uses. NHR is also buggy with code sometimes showing.

September 21, 2012 at 2:10 PM 
Blogger Jordan Fenster said...

Well, I appreciate the knowledge. I can't promise that it's all that simple (though my technical knowledge is not as extensive as it should be) considering how this blog site was put together.
But I'll pass along the suggestion first chance I get.
Thanks!
Jordan Fenster - jfenster@nhregister.com

September 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM 
Blogger christopher schaefer said...

In the environment, arsenic combines with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur to form inorganic arsenic compounds. Inorganic kinds of arsenic are thought to be the most dangerous for human health. In plants and animals, arsenic combines with hydrogen and oxygen to form organic arsenic compounds. Thus organic arsenic occurs naturally in a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and fish—and very little is known about potential health consequences of ingesting organic arsenic. Through its Total Diet Study, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring levels of both naturally-occurring organic arsenic as well as inorganic arsenic in our food supply for years—and has not determined any safety concern for rice. In grains, organic arsenic concentrates in the part called the germ, which is removed to make white rice. Thus brown rice naturally has higher concentrations of organic arsenic that white rice. The FDA already announced a process of further inspection of rice and rice products to determine the levels and types of arsenic that may be present to protect the public. This will provide consumers with additional information about the safety of rice and rice products with low levels of arsenic. When the FDA finds inorganic arsenic—i.e. the kind currently KNOWN to be toxic—it considers those findings on a case-by-case basis and takes regulatory action where necessary. It is this inorganic arsenic that has been regulated in drinking water for years. No standards exist regarding levels of naturally-occurring organic arsenic in rice—because no one knows what a safe level is, since very little research has been done on organic arsenic’s effect—if any—on human health. Thus, Rosa DeLauro’s “RICE ACT”—like nearly every worthless idea she’s come up with over the past 22 years—should never leave legislative committee.

September 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM 

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