USA Rice: Swift response needed to Korea's import ban

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Following the announcement on Sept. 21 by Korean officials that imports of U.S. rice and domestic sales of existing stocks would be suspended pending testing for arsenic content, the USA Rice Federation urged administration officials in Washington, D.C., U.S. and Seoul to communicate the facts about arsenic in rice to Korea and to have the suspension lifted. 
Korea is the only export destination to date where commercial sales have been disrupted and regulatory action threatened in the wake of the Consumer Reports article published on arsenic in food.  Korea's action flies in the face of guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that no change in consumption of U.S. rice is warranted and the many studies that show the overwhelming nutritional benefits of rice in a balanced diet.  USA Rice Federation is also pressing that any testing by Korean officials does not discriminate against U.S. rice and is able to provide useful results in promoting human health.
Korea was the sixth-largest importer of U.S. rice in 2011. Imports of U.S. rice were 162,921 tonnes valued at $125 million. Korea purchases a minimum of 50,076 tonnes of rice from the U.S. as part of the country's international commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization.
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