More and more California farmers are passing off some of their cauliflower crop as local rice. Arkansas rice growers are beginning to react. Cauli rice, cauliflower rice, miracle rice and more are being sold as healthy brands of rice in grocery stores across the state.
Representatives from the Arkansas Rice Federation and USA Rice are firing back on the claims. Stating that consumers are being deceived. Arkansas Rice Federation representative Lauren Waldrip Ward says, “Products like Cauli-Rice, Better than Rice…don’t have a single grain of rice. There are essential vitamins and minerals that are in rice that aren’t in cauliflower. So, misleading a consumer into purchasing something that doesn’t include those is a bit dangerous.”
Arkansas rice council president Jeff Rutledge says, “What’s being sold is a shape… A vegetable shaped like rice. And rice is not a shape it’s a grain, and that’s what we sell.”
It could cost the rice industry millions to prove there is a big difference between traditional rice, and vegetables marketed as rice. To date, there is no official government definition of what rice is, or what makes it up.
With the fall of rice prices…concern grows over the impact that vegetables marketed as rice will have on Arkansas’ rural economy. The grain rice industry accounts for twenty percent of all economic activity in the state. And generates around six billion dollars a year.”
Rice Council President Jeff Rutledge says the cauliflower rice claims upset him, and thousands of rice farmers across the state. And makes it harder for them to turn a profit, in an already tough market.
“It’s kind of capitalizing on everything that the rice industry’s done over the years to build the trust of the consumer. And provide a high-quality, low-cost nutritious product.”
The Arkansas Rice Federation is now working together with the FDA to give rice an official identity.