Major Chinese Rice Import Company Visits U.S. Rice Industry Print E-mail
ip-major-chinese-rice-import-co-visits-us-rice-industry-small-141008RICE COUNTRY, USA -- The USA Rice Federation facilitated the visit of four representatives from one of the largest private rice importing companies in China to the offices of U.S. rice exporters in Arkansas, Louisiana, and California this week and  last.  The company, Dragon Ocean Hing Group, was established  in 2001and has an annual import volume of over 200,000 metric tons and a turnover of more than $163 million U.S dollars.

“This trip was very successful,” said Mr. William Li, the delegation leader.  “There were more exporters interested in meeting with us than time allowed.”

With their subsidiaries Shenzhen Hong Tai Xiang Import & Export, Gold Profit Industries, and Shenzhen Yintuo, the company has built a complete rice supply chain from origin procurement to terminal sales, covering customs clearance, domestic logistics, freight forwarding, import and export agency, warehouse, rice factory, and both retail and wholesale rice distribution.

One hundred sixty thousand tons of the two hundred thousand Dragon Ocean Hing imports each year is long grain sourced from Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The remaining 40,000 tons of imports is short and medium grain rice used in alcohol and rice noodles.  The company sells products in over eighty cities, 1,200 supermarkets, 1,500 gas stations, and major on-line stores.

“We expected this trip to help prepare us to reach import contract agreements with American rice suppliers as soon as China allows rice imports from America,” “We believe American rice will enhance our product line and we wish to be the first company to import American rice into China.”

 
In Victory for U.S. Rice Industry, Rice Headed for Iraq Print E-mail
comm-rice heading for iraq-141120ARLINGTON, VA -- (November 20, 2014) -- The USA Rice Federation has learned that after being passed over in the previous Iraqi rice tender, U.S. rice has been awarded 120,000 MT of long grain in the current tender.

"This is really great news for the entire U.S. rice industry," said USA Rice Federation President and CEO Betsy Ward.  "We're sitting on a large, high quality crop, and with the Iraq Grain Board (IGB) placing the order for bulk and bagged rice, the whole southern region will win."

"We hosted the IGB at my farm and mills around the Delta back in May, where we successfully worked through several technical issues, and we were expecting that sales would follow," said Arkansas rice farmer and Chairman of the USA Rice Federation Dow Brantley.

"We're very pleased to have won the confidence and business of the IGB and the rice industry has worked hard to maintain a positive relationship with them," said Ward.  "We know the Iraqi people like the taste and quality of U.S. rice, and our growers look forward to supplying rice to Iraq on future tenders."

Photo caption:  Big crop, big sale
 
Consumer Reports Makes Rice Pronouncements with Dr. Oz; Science Behind It All is Questionable Print E-mail
rangan pictureARLINGTON, VA -- (November 18, 2014) -- Two years after first writing about arsenic levels in rice, Consumer Reports (CR) is back at it with a new limited study, consumer recommendations on rice consumption, and a champion in television's Dr. Oz.  But what has the industry, and likely consumers, confused is:  CR seems to be making some leaps and wild guesses to arrive at their recommendations.

"Arsenic in our food supply is a challenging, yet unavoidable, situation which is why we support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studying the issue carefully," said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation.  "But CR's new consumption recommendations aren't supported by any science that we've seen."

Ward said U.S.-grown rice has been tested extensively by the industry, labs at land grant universities, and the FDA, and has been found to contain arsenic levels that are below safe maximum levels established by the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization's Codex Alimentarius in July (see chart below).

CR's representative on the Dr. Oz program today attacked the CODEX standard as being too lax, and their report suggests establishing an inorganic arsenic maximum level 80 parts per billion (ppb) lower than the current standard of 200 ppb.

CR and Oz make a recommendation that infants dramatically reduce rice and rice product intake, but USA Rice says they failed to identify any scientific data that supports the recommendation.

"We as an industry are fully committed to a safe, reliable crop and research to make sure we stay there," said Ward.  "But CR seems to be arriving at these conclusions out of the blue.  We believe that rice is a safe and nutritious food and an important component of a balanced, healthy diet,"

USA Rice is still analyzing the CR study, but says one of the most perplexing claims involves regionality.

"CR's spokesperson, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, encourages consumers to look for basmati rice from India and Pakistan, and if buying American, to look for California rice," said Michael Klein, a USA Rice spokesman.  "All the tests we've seen show that levels of inorganic arsenic are lowest in U.S.-grown rice, regardless of what state it came from."

Klein said few if any rice packages identify the state where the rice was grown anyway, making the CR recommendation impossible to follow.

"We've seen levels vary from plot to plot and field to field, so making blanket statements about one state versus another is totally unscientific, disingenuous, and misleading," Klein said.  "Analyzing toxins in food is not the same as analyzing which television gives you the best picture in a well-lit room.  CR should let the FDA continue its careful scientific evaluation and make the recommendations to the public."

Photo caption:  CR claims international arsenic standards not enough
 
Arkansas Rice Producer Dow Brantley Elected Chairman of the USA Rice Federation Print E-mail
bw and usarf chairmen-140715DALLAS, TX -- (July 15, 2014) -- The Board of Directors of the USA Rice Federation elected a new chairman during annual meetings here yesterday.

Arkansas rice producer Dow Brantley will assume the two-year post on August 1, taking over for Mark Denman, a Texas rice miller who has been chairman of the group since 2012.

"Dow is going to make a great chairman," Denman said.  "He is an important producer in the number one rice producing state in the country, and has already begun to make his mark on the industry as the chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation and the Arkansas Rice Farmers and through his service on several USA Rice committees and task groups."

"Mark Denman guided our industry through some trying times -- the farm bill, trade and marketing challenges, and other critical issues," said Brantley.  "He was also at the helm during our recent strategic planning that resulted in a solid viability plan for the industry and the organization.  He served all segments of the industry with distinction, and I'm looking forward to keeping us moving in that right direction."

Brantley operates a large family farm in England, Arkansas and reports about 35 percent of his acreage is in rice.  In addition to serving on several USA and Arkansas Rice committees, Brantley is a graduate of the Rice Leadership Development Program, and is the chairman of the Lonoke County Farm Bureau.

"This is an exciting time for the American rice industry with many challenges and opportunities ahead," said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice.  "Chairman Denman was an outstanding leader who turns over a more focused and stronger Federation than he inherited.  We're pleased to continue working with Chairman-elect Brantley as we continue to enhance our organization and take on existing and new challenges on behalf of the entire U.S. industry."

Photo caption: CEO Betsy Ward flanked by outgoing Chairman Mark Denman (l.) and new Chairman Dow Brantley.
 
School Nutrition Magazine Announces Healthy Rice Bowls Contest Print E-mail
The September issue of School Nutrition Magazine (circulation 50,000) features the USA Rice Federation's annual Healthy Rice Bowls Contest for kindergarten through 12th grade (K-2) school menu planners.  The contest began this month to coincide with National Rice Month and the beginning of the new school year.

In a piece with the headline of "Bowl Them Over," the article says, “rice sure is nice, especially for winners of the USA Rice Federation's Healthy Rice Bowls Contest for K-12 school nutrition professionals!”  It also gives details on how to submit entries for creative rice bowls served as a school lunch.

The contest is an opportunity for USA Rice to promote rice usage in schools and feature winning ideas on the organization's Web site.

This year's entry deadline is Nov. 6.  One winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card, an Aroma commercial rice cooker for their school and a 10-cup cooker for home.  Runners-up also will receive rice cookers.

USA Rice works closely with the School Nutrition Association and K-12 menu planners to encourage increased rice offerings in schools. For more contest information and a look at previous winners, visit MenuRice.com.

 


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