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Marketplace

A rice by any other name…

Laine Kaplan-Levenson May 23, 2019
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Jeff Durand on his rice farm in St. Martinville, Louisiana.
Laine Kaplan-Levenson

New products — like cauliflower “rice” — are competing for consumer dollars and leading to debate about product labeling in the process.

Is cauliflower rice, made from small pieces of cauliflower, really entitled to call itself “rice”? That’s currently up for debate in Louisiana, the third-largest rice producing state in the country.

Louisiana Senate Bill 152 provides for “truth in labeling” of agricultural products like rice. Those in support of the bill argue that calling cauliflower rice is misleading, and therefore a consumer protection issue. Cauliflower rice producers and affiliated trade groups argue that consumers are not confused, and are intentionally buying these rice alternatives.

Similar measures have already passed in Arkansas and Missouri, and are being challenged in court. If it passes in Louisiana, it’s likely the courts will also have to decide if what, exactly, can be called rice.   

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