The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that after testing 1,300 samples of rice and rice products for the presence of arsenic, the agency has determined that although the levels varied significantly depending on the product tested, the amount of detectable arsenic is “too low” to cause any “immediate or short-term adverse health effects.” The new findings represent the latest of the agency’s ongoing efforts to manage possible arsenic-related risks associated with the consumption of rice in the United States.
FDA has apparently been monitoring arsenic levels in rice for more than 20 years and has seen no evidence of change in levels of total arsenic in rice. The agency’s next step will be to use new tools that provide greater specificity about different types of arsenic present in foods to analyze the effect of long-term exposure to low levels of arsenic in rice. It plans to conduct a risk assessment to consider how much arsenic is consumed from rice products and whether variations in health effects exist for certain segments of the population. See FDA News Release, September 6, 2013.