Arsenic in Rice

Arsenic in Rice

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Arsenic in Rice

On September 19, 2012, the FDA released a consumer report that analyzed about 200 samples of rice and rice products sold in the United States.  The FDA regularly conducts studies that look at harmful chemicals in consumer products such as industrial chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, pesticides, and more. 

In the recent analysis of rice samples, the FDA looked at samples of rice and rice products like cereals, rice cakes, and rice beverages.  Even though arsenic levels can vary greatly from product to product, the FDA found the average levels of arsenic in micrograms in the following products: 

Rice (not Basmati rice): 6.7 micrograms per 1 cooked cup

Rice cakes: 5.4 micrograms per 2 cakes

Rice beverages: 3.8 micrograms per 240 ml

Rice cereals: 3.5 micrograms per 1 cup

Basmati rice: 3.5 micrograms per 1 cooked up

The FDA has not suggested that consumers stop consuming rice.  However, the FDA does suggest maintaining a well-balanced diet that contains a large variety of different grains.  The FDA needs to continue analyzing more rice samples (up to 1,200) before they can begin a thorough analysis and make recommendations. 

Arsenic is produced naturally in the environment from volcanoes and the erosion of mineral deposits.  However, humans do add a significant amount of arsenic to the natural environment through the burning of coal, wood, and petroleum products.  Arsenic is already released during mining and the use of pesticides, herbicides, and wood preservatives. 

Because the samples come from all over the world, the FDA also needs to target certain geographical regions where the rice is grown and harvested.  The FDA is expected to complete the analysis by the end of 2012, and the agency is expected to target products that are exclusively consumed by children and Asian-Americans.  The FDA will also give particular attention to those with celiac disease. 

Source: Food and Drug Administration

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