|Concern about Arsenic Levels in Rice|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:47|
Recent studies on arsenic levels in rice and rice products, have been widely publicized in the media, including a new study published in Consumer Reports. The report and subsequent articles warn consumers that rice and rice products have high levels of arsenic, a known toxin and carcinogen. Rice is 10 times more efficient in absorbing arsenic than other crops. For now, arsenic levels are not federally regulated in food, only in drinking water. The study found that rice grown in California was likely to have a lower rate of arsenic than in the south-central region of the country (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas), because of that area’s legacy of cotton production and use of arsenical pesticides to combat the boll weevil.
Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, CA has committed to testing its rice from three different crop years, to test the levels of arsenic in the soil, water and inputs over the course of three crop years, and to determine the effect of processing on arsenic levels in the finished products. The company shares these preliminary thoughts on the Consumer Report:
Over the past several months, Lundberg Family Farms has taken a number of important steps in response to the release of research studies concerning arsenic in rice. Through our website and responding to customer inquiries, we have worked to provide information about the issue of arsenic in food products such as rice, developed a food safety page/FAQs and created a research library that includes abstracts/links to peer-reviewed research studies on the subject.
As part of this effort, we have retained outside experts to help us develop and implement a plan and protocols to test our products for potential arsenic levels. We have been sending samples to an independent outside lab to measure the levels of arsenic in our products. Our preliminary results satisfy us that our rice is safe, and falls well below the limits of concern that multiple health agencies around the world have discussed.
The results of the testing for arsenic on rice and rice products published by Consumer Reports on September 19 are consistent with our initial findings for levels of inorganic arsenic. Though we are still in the early stages of our efforts to quantify the levels of arsenic in our rice and rice products, we can report that the average level found in our rice products is 95 ppb. These results are from over 120 samples from the 2011 crop, 65% of which were brown. As we have referenced in the past, we have a three year plan to study the levels of arsenic in our products so that we can develop reliable and meaningful data to assist our consumers in making informed decisions