Fitzpatrick’s point is that most serious phase of the agency’s evaluation of rice safety is just beginning – and that actually is an assessment of long-term risk: “I am a toxicologist and will be looking at the data on possible different adverse effects from arsenic exposure in rice. Nutritionists will be studying rice consumption patterns and epidemiologists will be looking for patterns of disease. There will be statisticians, experts on exposure to arsenic, and many others.”
And I think it’s important to emphasize that here because I find that far more reassuring than last week’s happy talk announcement. I like knowing that a federal agency tasked with protecting the public health both recognizes the critical questions raised by arsenic in the food supply and is working to address them.