Dems propose federal standards on arsenic levels in rice-based food

"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."

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The Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure (RICE) Act would require the Food and Drug Administration to set a maximum allowable level of arsenic in rice. DeLauro and other members noted that currently the only FDA rules on arsenic, a chemical that is poisonous in high doses, are related to bottled water.

"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," said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.). "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," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). "This legislation will help protect families from this unacceptable risk."