Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M, says a recent Consumer Reports study in which arsenic was detected in rice is a matter being closely monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We are in contact with these government entities as they conduct their own research on arsenic levels in rice. Rice is nutritious and for me, personally, it will continue to be a part of my diet,” said Strain.

The FDA and the EPA monitor the levels of arsenic in food. They say arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is present in air, water, rocks and soil.

The FDA is not recommending that consumers modify their consumption of rice and rice products. “While the presence of arsenic in rice sounds alarming, it is not new,” Strain said. “I encourage consumers to continue eating a well balanced diet.”

The FDA has monitored arsenic levels for more than 20 years and is in the process of collecting and analyzing about 1,000 samples. Once completed, the FDA will determine whether or not to issue additional recommendations.

There are about 1,000 rice producers that grow approximately 400,000 acres of rice in Louisiana. Rice is a $475 million industry in the state. The USDA ranks Louisiana third in rice production.

For more information, go to www.fda.gov.