Could the arsenic scare work in natural industry's favor?

Could the arsenic scare work in natural industry's favor?

When alarms rang recently about arsenic in organic baby formula and brown rice, natural and organic companies were quick to respond—and defend—their products to consumers. Two weeks have passed, and I, along with the rest of the country, have since moved on to other topics. You know, to the standard fare you hear in the natural products industry such as:

So it goes with food recalls and safety alerts. They're top news one day, forgotten the next. And how can it be any other way, given how many food safety issues we're bombarded with each year? Already in 2012, there have been 11 recalls posted to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service website. That's more than one per week.

Arsenic in brown rice is so two weeks ago

FDA and USDA can't keep our food safe from everything, forever. So while consumers may have moved on from the arsenic scare, organic and natural companies have not and are taking steps to educate about the carcinogen in their foodstuffs. 

  • Axiom Foods' published a notice saying their currently available soluble Brown Rice Syrup Solid has shown "no detectable" levels of arsenic in third party tests.
  • Lundberg Family Farms, grower and natural market leader of organic rice, is working with research facilities to establish possible testing of its products. This testing has so far not been required by FDA.  
  • Nature's One, the company accused of high arsenic levels in baby formula, has a webpage dedicated to addressing concerns about organic brown rice syrup. Bottom line: Their baby formula tests found significantly less arsenic than standards set by the World Health Organization and Codex.
  • Suzanne's Specialties, makers of organic rice nectar, published a letter reiterating that arsenic is naturally-occurring in rice and that rice-based products have been consumed for centuries and by all cultures.

As far as this writer can tell, there's no reason for alarm. Just today on newhope360, another safety concern trumped arsenic: lead in lipstick. If anything, these scares draw attention to the fact that organic agriculture and cleaner manufacturing and testing are ways to reduce contaminants in the first place.

Could the arsenic scare actually work in natural companies' favor? Tell me in the comments.

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