LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The LSU AgCenter at the Rice Research Station near Crowley is participating in a mulit-state study on arsenic in rice to determine if levels of the element are higher in different varieties.
"Arsenic in rice has been a hot topic over the past summer," said Calcasieu Parish LSU AgCenter county agent Jimmy Meaux. "The LSU AgCenter is doing some continued research to try to see if we can find varieties of rice that may be lower in arsenic or if we can find other cultural practices or things that we can do to help lower the content of arsenic in rice."
The LSU AgCenter says all plants naturally absorb arsenic, but rice tends to absorb more because it grows in flooded conditions.
"We grow rice where we flood the fields after they plant them," said Meaux. "So, they're going to try different environments where they flood the rice at different stages of its growth. They're also going to try planting in a dry environment and see what happens there."
The testing is being conducted in all rice growing states including Texas, California and Mississippi and for those with concerns here in Southwest Louisiana, Meaux says our rice is safe.
"As far as the safe levels, U.S. rice is very safe," said Meaux. "Even though they do have arsenic in them, they're at a really safe level."
All rice samples will be milled at the Rice Research Station and then sent to a lab for determining arsenic content.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently reported the results of testing and concluded that no health issues are associated with arsenic in rice or rice products.