September 7, 2013
FDA Testing Discovers Arsenic In Rice Is Not High Enough To Be Dangerous
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redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe OnlineTesting by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found low levels of arsenic in rice, but the agency said that the amounts of the carcinogen aren’t enough to make the popular side dish dangerous to eat.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the FDA tested 1,300 samples of rice and rice products. While the overall amounts varied, they reported that brown rice contains the highest amounts of arsenic, while instant rice contains the lowest.
Overall, the agency declared that detectable arsenic levels were “too low to cause immediate or short-term negative health effects,” explained Reuters reporters Toni Clarke and Atossa Araxia Abrahamian. They added that additional research was needed in order to determine possible effects of long-term exposure to low levels of the substance.
The products tested and analyzed by the FDA included various different types of rice grain (including white, jasmine and basmati) as well as various types of rice products (pasta, infant and toddler cereals, rice cakes, and even rice beer and rice wine). They found that the average levels of inorganic arsenic ranged from 2.6 micrograms to 7.2 micrograms per serving, with instant rice at the low end of the range and brown rice at the high end.
“Among the rice product categories, of which there was a wide variety, the average levels of inorganic arsenic ranged from 0.1 to 6.6 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving, with infant formula at the low end of the range and rice pasta at the high end,” the agency explained in a statement. “These amounts of detectable arsenic are not high enough to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects.”
The study results, which were released Friday, mark the first time that the government agency has published broad numbers in regards to the amount of arsenic present in rice products, said USA Today’s Elizabeth Weise. FDA senior science adviser Donald Zink explained to Weise that the substance tends to accumulate in the outer part of the rice known as the hull, so the more that rice is refined and polished, the less arsenic it will contain.
“The FDA’s advice for consumers, including pregnant women, infants and children, is to eat a well-balanced diet for good nutrition and to minimize potential adverse consequences from consuming an excess of any one food,” the agency said. “This advice is consistent with the guidance of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has long stated that parents should feed their infants and toddlers a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet.”