Update on Arsenic in Rice

  • In July 2014, the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, a working group of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization, approved a recommendation from their Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) to establish a maximum level (ML) for inorganic arsenic in polished (white) rice of 0.2 mg/kg, along with the future development of a code of practice for growing rice.

  • The FDA on September 6, 2013 posted its latest results for the presence of arsenic in approximately 1,100 samples of rice and rice products.
  • The results confirm those released in 2012, and the FDA is once again assuring consumers that rice should be part of a well-balanced diet.
  • The FDA says its scientists "determined that the amount of detectable arsenic is too low in the rice and rice product samples to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects."
  • In response to the September 6, 2013 FDA data release, Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition, said, "These FDA data are reassuring.  While there is inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products, it is at a level that should be safe for consumption across the population.  Diets that follow the AAP guidelines include a variety of foods and a variety of grains and remain a healthful approach to eating for children and adolescents."

For more information, click here to read USA Rice Industry Action Summary.  Click here to read FDA's September 2013 statement on testing and analysis.

 

  • Rice is Safe

    brown rice scoop

    Rice is a wholesome, nutritious and affordable food that has supported half the world's populations for hundreds of years.

    There is no documented evidence in the United States that links rice consumption to human health problems.

    The overall arsenic content of U.S. rice is similar to rice grown in other parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization's food safety standards body.

    FDA says there is no scientific data to support dietary changes.

     

  • What the Rice Industry is Doing

    rice head

    The U.S. rice industry is committed to maintaining the safety of U.S. grown rice and supports the FDA's examination of the issue to better understand the science of arsenic in food.

    The rice industry is conducting research to determine the impact of agronomic practices and processing on arsenic uptake in rice and documenting the known health benefits of rice consumption versus perceived risk.

    Independent laboratory analysis using the FDA's arsenic testing method found the arsenic content of U.S. rice within the range of international rice samples.

  • What Health and Medical Experts Say

    In the Sept. 6 data release, FDA determined that “the amount of detectable arsenic is too low in the rice and rice product samples to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects.”  FDA also noted that “rice is a life-long dietary staple for many people” and does not recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products.  The results confirm those released one year ago and FDA is once again assuring consumers that rice should be part of a well-balanced diet.

    Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob"During my more than 25 years of clinical practice, I have never seen any of my patients become ill or suffer a health condition due to arsenic in food, not even foods that consumers eat on a daily basis."
    – Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob
         Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
         Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    "In general, although more rice intake seems to mean more arsenic exposure, populations with the highest rice intake actually have lower, not higher, rates of cancer than ours in the U.S.  The presence of a contaminant in a food does not necessarily mean there is a problem."
    – Dr. David Katz
         Director
         Yale Univeristy Prevention Research Center

    "I think the best thing to do is go on with what you’re doing and realize that [the risk] was a little overstated. The levels are low, and there are many other foods that have this."
    – Dr. Frank LoVecchio
        Medical Toxicologist
        Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center

  • Scientific Data on Arsenic in Rice

    New Test Results Show Arsenic Levels in US Rice Lowest among World Health Organization Codex Countries

    CODEX Report: U.S. Rice Has Lowest Inorganic Arsenic Levels Reported

    CODEX Discussion Paper on Arsenic in Rice

    Food, Rice and Arsenic: What Health Professionals Need to Know - PDF

    Food, Rice and Arsenic: What Health Professionals Need to Know - Webinar

    In Vitro Assessment of the Bioaccessibility of Arsenicals in Rice

    EPA Exposure Models Predict Scientific Exposure to Arsenic that Echo Reality

 
Brought to you by the USA Rice Federation.