There are two types of arsenic found in food: organic, which presents almost no human health threat; and inorganic, which can pose health threats if consumed at high levels. The level of inorganic arsenic typically found in food, and particularly in rice, is so low it is measured in something called “parts per billion.” There have been no documented incidents in which arsenic in U.S. rice has led to human health problems, and U.S.-grown rice already meets established international health standards for arsenic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, exposure to higher than average levels of arsenic occurs not from food you eat, but results mostly when arsenic is present in the workplace, near hazardous waste sites, or in areas with high natural levels.
Studies suggest that people who consume large amounts of rice are actually associated with having healthier overall diets that are more in line with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Comprehensive studies by Harvard University (funded by The National Institutes of Health) involving more than 200,000 people found no increased risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer due to rice consumption, including individuals with Asian backgrounds for whom rice is a daily staple. Rice is actually not the greatest source of arsenic in the typical diet. Fruit, fruit juice, and vegetables are greater sources of arsenic and few nutritionists and dieticians would advise you to eliminate these important sources of vitamins and minerals from your diet.
Arsenic is everywhere in nature. It is one of many natural elements found in air, water, and soil, and virtually all crop plants take up arsenic. There are trace amounts of arsenic in nearly all of the foods and beverages we consume, including vegetables, fruits, juices, rice, grains, seafood, meat, and wine. Some believe pesticides are to blame, however, U.S. rice farmers do not use any arsenical pesticides on the rice they grow.
Sacramento, Stockton and Oakland. Cities miles apart but they all share one thing in common – they are key to exporting about two billion pounds of California rice around the world!
California rice finds its way around the globe, from Tokyo to Istanbul. Our largest markets are found in Asia, with Japan the leading importer of California rice. Taiwan and South Korea are also key markets for our high quality sticky rice. Turkey, Syria and Jordan make up the major markets in the Middle East. California rice is shipped throughout the Pacific, South America and Europe.
Rice is shipped in three primary ways to these markets. The Port of West Sacramento and Stockton handle large shipments of bagged rice and bulk rice. The Port of Oakland is the primary shipper of all containers, which find their way to Brazil, Europe, Taiwan, and many other countries.
Throughout the shipping process, rice creates skilled, high paying jobs as it is transported, stored and finally loaded aboard ship. Many of these jobs are held by members of the local ILWU or Teamsters.