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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA Publishes Data from Testing of Infant Rice Cereal

March 6, 2020

Media Inquiries

  Amanda Turney
  301-796-2969

The following quote is attributed to Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition:

“The FDA is committed to identifying, targeting and reducing exposure to toxic elements from food, especially foods consumed by infants and young children.

“Results from our tests show that manufacturers have made significant progress in ensuring lower levels of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.

“The testing results we are sharing today affirm that manufacturers can continue to lower levels of inorganic arsenic in rice products with the use of good manufacturing practices, such as sourcing rice with lower levels of inorganic arsenic.

“Rice cereal fortified with iron is a good source of nutrients for babies but does not need to be their first or only cereal. Other fortified infant cereals include oat, barley and multigrain.”

  • In April 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance for industry, Action Level for Inorganic Arsenic in Rice Cereals for Infants. This guidance established a proposed action level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals of 100 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) or 100 parts per billion (ppb) and identified the FDA’s intended sampling and enforcement approach.
  • Today, the FDA is posting inorganic arsenic data from the 2018 testing of 149 infant white and brown rice cereal samples.
  • The number of samples tested in 2018 that were at or below of 100 ppb was 76% as compared with 47% of samples tested in 2014 and 36% of samples tested between 2011-2013. Both white rice and brown rice cereals showed improvement in meeting the FDA’s 100 ppb proposed action level, but the improvement was greatest for white rice cereals, which tend to have lower levels of inorganic arsenic overall.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.