October 23, 2018

FDA: Arsenic In Rice Doesn’t Pose Short-Term Health Issue

Arsenic levels in rice and rice products do not pose a short-term health risk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded after studying thousands of samples.  But the health effects of long-term exposure to the low amounts of arsenic in these products is unknown, and that will be the agency’s next area of  focus.

Brown riceThere are two types of arsenic, organic and inorganic. Both occur naturally in the environment and are found in water, air, soil and foods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), organic arsenic is found mainly in fish and shellfish.  Inorganic arsenic, the more toxic type, is normally found in soil, sediment, and groundwater. From these sources, inorganic arsenic can make its way on to foods including rice.

The FDA analyzed more than 1,300 samples which included various kinds of rice – white, jasmine, basmati; and rice products including infant and toddler cereals, pasta, grain-based bars, snacks, cookies, pastries, desserts, puddings, beer, rice wine and rice water. As a group, these products represent most types of  rice-based foods and beverages consumed in the United States. Here is what they found:

“Among the rice grain categories, the average levels of inorganic arsenic ranged from 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving, with instant rice at the low end of the range and brown rice at the high end. Among the rice product categories, of which there was a wide variety, the average levels of inorganic arsenic ranged from 0.1 to 6.6 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving, with infant formula at the low end of the range and rice pasta at the high end. These amounts of detectable arsenic are not high enough to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects. A summary of the findings is available on the Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products main page.”

The agency chose to withhold the brand names of the products tested because some manufacturers vary the source of their rice and not enough products from each brand name were evaluated. As the FDA moves forward with the next step of evaluation, the long-term effects, it will consult with federal partners and members of the food industry, the agricultural community, consumer groups, and others. A draft risk assessment will be released to the public following peer review.

 

Comments

  1. Those of us with Celiac do not trust the safety of rice, anymore. We can’t eat wheat and gluten, so depend on rice. And, I worry about the rice that is in my dog’s food. It’s always something to worry about, with our food supply.

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