The fight over the US government’s definitions for certain foods has flared up again. For the first time, vegetables are being roped into the debate—all because of the arrival and popularization of “cauliflower rice.” The president of USA Rice Ms Betsy Ward has jumped in the fray to demand the cauliflower people stop calling ‘cauliflower rice’ as ‘rice.’ This is in line with the rice lobbying group which is understandably upset by the “popularization of ‘cauliflower rice'”—cauliflower that’s essentially ground up until it looks and acts very much like actual rice. “Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables’ ‘rice’ is misleading and confusing to consumers,” said the president, beginning the latest agricultural row with the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). “We may be asking the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies to look at this” and make a ruling on the standards of identity, she added.
But the cauliflower side isn’t worried, “As long as consumers are not confused, I doubt USA Rice will get very far with [the] FDA,” said Gina Nucci of the California-based produce company, Mann Packing, which sells cauliflower products. “Every section of the grocery store is fighting for the same food dollar. Same share of stomach. Consumers are smart. I don’t think anyone is going to mistake regular rice for a riced cauliflower product, frozen or fresh,” she divulges further by saying that consumers are on the lookout for rice alternatives because there’s a demand for ready-to-eat products that take less time to prepare than whole-head cauliflower rice. “As long as consumers are not confused, I doubt USA Rice will get very far with the FDA,” she notes and adds that USA Rice has to tread delicately here, as its members are perfectly happy marketing their rice milk on dairy shelves.