Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their 2014 review of pesticide residue levels on produce, grain, salmon, and infant formula, and found that 99 percent of the samples had residue levels below the EPA limit. A total of 314 rice samples were taken and none contained residues over the legally established tolerance limit. View the full report here.

EPA also opened the 60-day public comment period (ending on March 15) on a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide used in rice and other crops. This is the first of four preliminary risk assessments for insecticides potentially harmful to bees.

Stakeholders and members of the public can review the risk assessment and related documents here, and submit comments.  EPA states that all comments submitted will be accounted for in their final risk assessment.

"The EPA risk assessments will have a direct effect on the few available neonicotinoids for rice pest control," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president for government affairs.  "USA Rice staff is closely monitoring the risk assessment process as we prepare our comments for submission to the EPA."