Before you go to the cabinet and throw out all your rice, understand that we don't mean someone has been tampering with Southwest Louisiana's staple food. There's a lot more to the story.

there are about 495,000 acres of rice in our state and one can't underestimate it's importance to the state economy, to say nothing of the livelihood of our rice farmers. All the more reason that a recent Consumer Reports study says that "certain levels of arsenic" were found in American home-grown white rice.

Beauregard Parish rice farmer David Habetz, in an interview with our friends at KPLC was quoted as saying, "I'm just worried about scaring the consumers and it hurting the market for the farmers, but we certainly don't want any arsenic in our rice of any type level, but FDA is saying that it's still okay to eat rice with the levels they are finding."

Let us add right here that, according to the FDA, the rice is still okay to eat.



The USA Rice Federation released in a statement about the reports on Wednesday, Sept. 19 that arsenic has always been in the food supply and is in many foods that are consumed daily.

"We understand that 'arsenic' is an alarming word, but we believe it is important for consumers to know that arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our air, water, rocks and soil," according to the USA Rice Fed. statement.

And both farmers agree consumers should continue to consume home-grown rice because there's not much to worry about.

Representative at the LSU Ag Center in Beauregard Parish Keith Hawkins agrees.

"The dose makes the poison. Low levels of any heavy metal or arsenic, it's negligible. It's everywhere. Our bodies deal with it, so I think it's okay," Hawkins said.

But rice farmers are still concerned about the negative impact the reports may have on the market.

If I may add; Our rice farmers will be depending on us to get the word out that it's still okay to eat the rice. You know that, on the heels of the Consumer Reports article, many people will panic and assume that rice is now a dangerous food.