Three Arkansas farming operations have filed suit against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Tyson Foods Inc. and three other Arkansas poultry producers, alleging arsenic found in Arkansas rice is caused by farmers' use of chicken litter as fertilizer.
The lawsuit (PDF), filed in Circuit Court in Stuttgart by Hare Wynn Newell & Newton LLP of Birmingham, Ala., seeks class-action status. In addition to Pfizer, of New York, and Tyson, of Springdale, the suit names as defendants Pilgrim's Pride Corp. of Greeley, Colo., Simmons Foods Inc. of Siloam Springs, George's Farms Inc. of Springdale and Peterson Farms Inc. of Decatur.
Consumer Reports last month reported that it had found "worrisome" levels of inorganic arsenic, a cancer-causing agent, in rice and a number of rice products consumed widely in the U.S. and called for the federal government to set limits on arsenic in rice.
The consumer group tested more than 200 rice products and found varying levels of arsenic, including some that it termed "significant."
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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