Governor Hutchinson signed Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 Monday, which outlines how the State Senate and the House of Representatives will work on legislation to establish a standard of identity for rice using the common understanding of the term “rice”.
There is currently not an FDA Standard of Identity for rice, but the resolution agrees with the existing Codex definition, which simply identifies rice as originating from the Oryza sativa L. plant.
“Our industry has made significant investments developing and building the brand we have for rice. Companies that do not produce real rice have tried to capitalize on that very brand. Our farmers are proud of the quality rice they grow and we must preserve that integrity while also protecting consumers,” Lauren Waldrip Ward, Executive Director of the Arkansas Rice Federation, said.
“Consumers have a right to honesty and transparency when shopping and these rice pretender products are designed to mislead them. Rice is a grain, not a shape.”
The concurrent resolution was sponsored by Senate Ag Chairman Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne), Senator Blake Johnson (R-Corning), House Ag Chairman Dan Douglas (R-Bentonville) and Representative Joe Jett (R-Success).
The resolution will now be transmitted to each member of the Arkansas congressional delegation, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, and the Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, urging them to work to pass nationwide legislation to establish a standard of identity for rice using the common understanding of the term “rice” as defined in the resolution.
The signed copy is available here.