Arsenic in Rice Is Not an Immediate Threat, Says FDA

Detectable arsenic levels ruled too low to be an short-term threat

Wikimedia/Rasbak
The FDA says arsenic levels in rice are to low to be an immediate threat.

Having completed an initial examination of arsenic levels in rice and rice-based food products, the FDA announced Friday that the amount of arsenic in rice is too low to present an immediate danger.

According to Yahoo News, Consumer Reports pushed for the investigation in 2012 after their tests revealed levels of inorganic arsenic in more than 60 products, including Kellogg's Rice Krispies.

"It doesn't mean consumers need to throw out all the rice in their cabinets, but they should be aware that the problem is important," said Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Reports' director of consumer safety and sustainability.

The highest levels of arsenic were found in brown rice, and the lowest levels were found in baby cereal.

According to the FDA, the amount of arsenic found in rice, including in rice cereal for babies, is too low to cause immediate or short-term negative effects. Further testing will be conducted to see if there are any potential negative effects of long-term exposure to low levels of arsenic in rice. That will be more difficult to determine, as it will depend on how much rice a person eats in a year and how big of a portion constitutes a standard serving. The FDA says it will be looking at that, as well as the health effects of arsenic on different demographics.

Just two months ago the FDA proposed new limits on the amount of arsenic allowed in apple juice. Arsenic does occur naturally and cannot be wholly eliminated, but it also can come from pesticides and environmental contamination.


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