Arsenic in rice shows no evidence for posing an immediate health risk to consumers according to an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The agency released its findings just two months after the FDA recommended new limits on arsenic in apple juice. That decision led the public to demand further investigations into the foods we consume.
According to FDA officials the agency tested more than 1,300 types of rice and rice products, including rice cakes and infant cereals. The agency found that rice products and rice average 3 to 7 micrograms of arsenic per serving. A microgram is one-millionth of a gram and even slight increases in those numbers can change the danger profile for certain substances.
Rice was specifically targeted because most types of rice contain higher level of arsenic compared to apple juice.
Because rice is used in so many types of products the testing performed by FDA officials was more complex than apple juice testing.
Arsenic is found naturally in our environment but industrial contamination can lead to higher levels of the substance in the products we consume.
Arsenic contamination entered the public mindset in 2011 when Dr. Oz claimed that apple juice was affected by higher than normal arsenic levels.
Citing a toxicological profile published by the federal government FDA officials say arsenic levels in rice and rice product samples are too low to cause short term harm. The agency did not comment on the long-term side effects of the substance. Experts say it is harder to determine the long-term side effects because they don’t yet understand the health effects for rice based on certain demographics.
The FDA says it will likely conduct a risk assessment to consider precisely how arsenic affects different demographics.
Are you worried about arsenic levels in the food and drink you consume every single day?