March 6, 2020
Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making available results from our most recent testing of infant rice cereals for inorganic arsenic. These results show that manufacturers have made significant progress in reducing levels of inorganic arsenic in these products.
In 2018, the FDA collected and tested 149 infant rice cereals following the release of the agency’s 2016 Draft Guidance for Industry which proposed an action level of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals. The FDA’s testing included both white and brown rice infant cereals. The number of samples tested in 2018 that met the FDA’s recommended target of 100 ppb was 76% compared to 36% of samples tested in 2011-2013. Both white rice and brown rice cereals showed improvement in meeting the 100 ppb level, but the improvement was greatest for white rice cereals, which tend to have lower levels of inorganic arsenic overall.
These data affirm that the current proposed action level is achievable with the use of good manufacturing practices, such as sourcing rice with lower levels of inorganic arsenic. To protect public health, the FDA will continue to identify, target, and prioritize efforts to reduce exposure to toxic elements from food.
Consumers should know that rice cereal fortified with iron is a good source of nutrients for infants but does not need to be the only or first source. Other iron-fortified infant cereals include oat, barley and multigrain. Pregnant mothers are also advised to eat a variety of grains as part of a well-balanced diet.
For more information:
- Testing for Inorganic Arsenic in Rice Cereal for Infants - Analytical Results, Posted March 2020: XLSX (31KB) | PDF (561KB)
- Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements
- What You Can Do to Limit Exposure to Arsenic