Arsenic In Rice Has No Short Term Health Risks, Says FDA

Arsenic levels in rice do not pose a health risk the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday. They confirmed that the amounts of detectable arsenic is too low in rice to have any negative health effects, at least in the short-term.

The agency says it still wishes to carry out further studies on the potential long-term effects of exposure to low levels of arsenic, which do exist in rice.

It was shown in 2012 that up to 60 every day brands contained levels of arsenic, to one degree or another. Included in that list of 60 was Kellogg’s Rice Krispies as well as Gerber infant cereal.

Urvashi Rangan, director of Consumer Reports’ consumer safety and sustainability, said the FDA’s findings were “good news” and mirrored the agency’s findings: “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,” she said.

The samples tested by the FDA included white, jasmine and basmati rice and infant products containing rice were also tested, including items like cookies, beer, and rice wine.

The agency said about the various rices tested for arsenic levels: “Taken together, the samples cover most types of rice grain and rice-based foods and beverages consumed in the United States.”

The chief executive of Lundberg Family Farms, Grant Lundberg, said the FDS’s findings were “old news” and he didn’t expect them to have any effect at all on sales of rice: “The findings the FDA is reporting are consistent with the information and samples that we’ve taken from our supply chain,” he said, “so I don’t think there’s anything in here that’s out of our expectation.”

It remains to be seen if consumer behavior will be affected by the recent FDA findings regarding levels of arsenic in rice.