Statement from Organic Center and Organic Trade Association

The following statement is from the Organic Center and Organic Trade Association.

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The organic industry is well known for responding to the most recent science on health risks to consumers, and has been proactively supporting research on methods for further decreasing the already low levels of arsenic in rice.  The Organic Center and organic industry companies have invested in comprehensive research to understand the external factors affecting arsenic levels in rice.  The goal of these projects is to develop improved rice varieties and rice growing protocols to ensure that organic rice production maintains consistently low levels of arsenic.  This project is expected to be completed in early 2015.

The Codex Alimentarius, a commission established by the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), recently adopted a standard for arsenic limits in white rice.  Codex develops harmonized international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade. The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.  The organic industry is using the official Codex standards in guiding its research on decreasing arsenic accumulation in rice and improving production methods.

Organic farmers and food makers are committed to providing healthful products to consumers and adopting science-based methods to produce the most beneficial foods to consumer health.  The organic industry is dedicated to maintaining transparency and providing consumers with information about the safety of their products and farming systems.

The Organic Center and the Organic Trade Association stand behind the safety of U.S. grown organic rice. Current research, such as the data reported by Consumer Reports, shows that the levels of arsenic found in domestic rice are below the internationally-established safety limits.  Additionally, numerous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of diets high in whole grains including rice, and organizations such as the American Heart Association and the National Institute of Health, along with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that consumers increase their consumption of these whole grains to improve their health.

The Organic Center is a non-profit focused on conducting and communicating research about organic food and farming and operates under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.