FDA: Arsenic Levels in Rice Pose No Short Term Risk

Rice Field

Last Friday, the FDA published its findings on arsenic levels in rice. We’ve discussed the matter in the past here and here.

Arsenic is a deadly toxin that was used in pesticides in the past and now is found in the soil and paddies where rice is grown in the southern US. Arsenic build up in the body over the course of many years can lead to cancer. There has been growing concern among consumer groups that the lack of FDA regulations means rice with high levels of arsenic may slowly be poisoning Americans, especially babies who consume rice products as one of their first solid foods.

The FDA reviewed 1300 samples of rice and basically said as follows:

  • The levels of arsenic in rice were found to be between 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms per serving.
  • The FDA considers this level as too low to pose any short-term health risk.
  • A comparison with rice grown in other parts of the world was conducted but the sample size was too small.
  • Further study into long-term health effects is required.

Our take:

This is a good first step, but the FDA needs to follow through and assure consumers that US rice growers are held to the highest standards, if that’s even possible with all the toxins floating around in the soil.

In the meantime, we will continue enjoying (whole grain) rice and recommending it to our readers.