South Korea has halted bidding for US rice imports and suspended domestic sales of US rice due to a recent Consumer Reports magazine study that found 60 different US rice products contained substantial levels of inorganic arsenic, the Associated Press reported.
The US Food and Drug Administration said its research shows that US rice is safe, but it will complete a larger study by year’s end, the AP reported.
South Korea’s Agricultural Ministry said that South Korea’s Rural Development Administration will investigate, and imports and sales will resume if they determine the rice is safe, Bloomberg News reported.
According to the AP:
South Korea imports all its US rice from California. Consumer Reports found higher arsenic levels in rice from southern US states than from California.
Meanwhile, Democratic legislators Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Nita Lowey of New York introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Friday that would require the FDA to limit the amount of arsenic that rice and rice-based products can contain, Reuters reported.
"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," DeLauro said in a statement, Reuters reported.