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Boustany Signs Letter Defending South Louisiana Rice Industry from Arsenic Allegations


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-South Louisiana) issued the following statement after signing a letter addressed to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients asking the FDA not release data from arsenic testing on American rice without adequate analysis and consumer guidance:

"Last year, a study by the magazine Consumer Reports attempted to link consumption of American-grown rice to increased health risks by demonstrating elevated levels of arsenic in this staple crop. At that time, the FDA recommended no dietary changes to consumers, signaling the agency believed there were no significant health risks associated with the consumption of rice.

"After taking the time to increase testing and gather data on American-grown rice, my colleagues and I believe the FDA should simply follow through and fully analyze its findings before releasing this data to the public. The fact is, arsenic is naturally occurring and has been present in our food supply in some small part for centuries. Generations of Cajun families can testify to the benefits of consuming perfectly safe and nutritious rice, and with proper analysis I believe the FDA will concur. I look forward to working with Commissioner Hamburg to ensure our food supply is safe and plentiful for all Americans."

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