U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
have sent letters to eight companies requesting information about arsenic
levels in rice products. Waxman and DeGette have asked Beech-Nut Nutrition
Corp., Carolina Rice, Della Rice, Earth’s Best, Nestlé Nutrition’s Gerber
Rice, Jazzmen Rice, Martin Farms, and Whole Foods Market to respond by
November 8, 2012, with details about their practices for monitoring and
limiting the amount of arsenic in their rice products.

In requesting this information, Waxman and DeGette pointed to studies authored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports purportedly showing “worrisome” levels of inorganic arsenic “in popular brands of rice and rice products like rice cereal, breakfast cereal, and rice cakes.” The lawmakers have requested all company documents related to arsenic testing as well as those describing any health risk assessments undertaken on each company’s behalf. “FDA is currently in the process of analyzing 1,000 more rice samples in order to understand the levels of arsenic exposure and the health risks that consumption of rice might pose,” note the letters. “FDA says it does not yet have ‘an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products’ until a more thorough review of the data is completed.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.