DeLauro comments on 'alarmingly high levels' of arsenic in rice

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes part of Shelton, is pleased with the new Consumer Reports guidelines on how much rice is safe for consumption.

The recommendations by the private, nonprofit organization, best known for it magazine, builds on a previous report revealing "alarmingly high levels" of arsenic in rice and rice-based products, such as cereal.

DeLauro also called on the federal government to do more to ensure rice in arsenic is not causing health problems in Americans.

Limit children’s use, fewer rice drinks

The Consumer Reports guidelines are meant to help adults and children reduce their exposure to arsenic without eliminating rice. They include limiting consumption of hot rice cereal or rice pasta by children and recommending children under five not replace milk with rice drinks.

Consumer Reports also released an analysis showing that the inorganic arsenic content of rice varies greatly by the type of rice and where it was grown.

“The fact that high levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, are present in rice, cereal and other everyday foods is outrageous,” said DeLauro, a Democrat just elected to her 13th term. “I applaud Consumer Reports for doing such important research and developing the new consumption guidelines to help us all make safer, more informed choices.”

‘Must do more’

DeLauro called on the federal government to be more aggressive with its oversight on this issue.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Consumer Union’s call for the Food and Drug Administration to address the risks we face from arsenic in our rice and other grains,” she said.

“This is not the first time we have been alerted to the dangers of arsenic, and the bottom line remains that the federal government simply must to more to ensure our food supply is safe,” DeLauro said. “We have an obligation to every American family, especially our children, to do so.”

In 2012, DeLauro introduced the RICE (Reducing food-based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act) Act which would require the FDA to set a maximum permissible level of arsenic in rice and food containing rice. She plans to introduce a similar bill in the 114th Congress, which takes office in January.

— as edited by Brad Durrell for the Shelton Herald