Facts about Arsenic in Food Print E-mail

Ayoob_SmallFacts about Arsenic in Food

Arsenic is present everywhere in the environment, including in the air, soil water and many plant foods, including rice.  Recent media stories about arsenic in rice and rice products may have raised concerns with consumers.  We take these claims very seriously.  We want you to feel confident that U.S.-grown rice and rice products are safe and healthy for you and your family.

The Facts

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in soil and water. All plants take up arsenic, including fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether the farming method is conventional or organic.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for overseeing the safety of our food supply, has been monitoring the arsenic content of food for more than 20 years. The FDA has not indicated that the average daily intake of arsenic poses a hazard to consumers, and has not established federal standards regarding the acceptable limits of arsenic in food.

Given recent attention to the issue, the FDA has expanded its surveillance activities to ensure that consumers are protected. The rice industry is fully engaged with government agencies, food scientists, nutritionists and manufacturers to ensure the continued safety and healthfulness of this vital food source.

Common Questions

Is it safe to eat rice? Yes. There have been no documented incidents in which arsenic in U.S. rice has led to human health problems. In fact, many populations that consume up to five times more rice than Americans have lower overall disease rates. The overall arsenic content of U.S. rice is similar to that found in other regions of the world.

Rice is a wholesome, nutritious and affordable food for consumers worldwide. Rice is gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains, is nutrient-dense and contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals including folate and other B-vitamins, iron and zinc. Rice is also fortified with folic acid, which has helped contribute to a 36 percent reduction in certain birth defects.

What about my children? Is it safe for them to eat rice? Yes. The Children’s National Medical Center advises pediatricians that “although there will be tiny amounts of arsenic in brown rice, it is unnecessary to stop consuming brown rice as a part of a well-balanced diet that includes a large variety of foods.”

Do You Still Have Comments or Questions? If you have comments or questions on any of this information, please contact Stacy Fitzgerald-Redd (703) 236-1458 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The U.S. rice industry is committed to maintaining the safety of U.S.-grown rice products, and to protecting the health and safety of the people who consume those products.

What Others Are Saying:

Watch pediatric nutritionist, Dr. Keith T. Ayoob (shown at right), provide helpful context to this important issue.

•    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study finds estimated arsenic exposures from diet to be low
•    U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues statement on arsenic in brown rice syrup