Arsenic should not be a concern for consumers eating rice, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which has reacted to independent and media studies of arsenic levels in rice with the most thorough study to date on the presence and risk of arsenic in rice.
The FDA collected 1,300 samples of rice and rice products from retail stores, and concluded that the levels of inorganic arsenic found in the samples are too low to cause immediate health damage.
Brown rice had higher levels of arsenic than instant rice. Rice pasta had more than infant formula.
The FDA acknowledges that its work isnt done, because it cant say that a lifetime of exposure to small levels of arsenic in rice and rice products arent of concern. Its next step is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment, which will take several months, be reviewed by experts in the field and made available for public comment before it is finalized. Once finalized, it could guide future decisions about regulations that might affect the levels of arsenic in rice.
"These are the next steps. To look at exposure levels, to analyze the risk, and determine how to minimize that risk for the overall safety of consumers, including vulnerable groups like children and pregnant women," says Suzanne C. Fitzpatrick, the senior advisor for toxicology in FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Arsenic is naturally occurring, so it is probably impossible to eliminate exposure completely, and because rice is grown in water and naturally takes up arsenic, it is a food that will have higher levels than other foods.
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