Future Study Needed
It seems every few months there is a report released about arsenic levels in certain foods. This time it’s rice. Consumer Reports has recommended reducing rice consumption because of what it says are high levels of inorganic arsenic found in rice samples. In response, the Food and Drug Administration has said that current science does not support such information. It has been noted that arsenic occurs naturally in the soil and in certain foods. Inorganic arsenic was used in the past in fertilizers and pesticides, and while some may remain in the soil and therefore leech into foods, the FDA says at this time it is premature to call for the avoidance of foods containing rice. The FDA has been studying arsenic levels in foods and drinks over the last two decades, and to date no maximum arsenic levels have been established yet for food, although there has been for drinking water. While the FDA says it appreciates the work of Consumer Reports, the agency also says, to avoid fear and panic on the consumer level, more testing needs to be done in this area, and the appropriate steps need to be taken to address what is potentially a long term concern.