U.S. Rice Industry Response to FDA's Release of Final Guidance for Inorganic Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereals

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Aug 07, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA – This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals, finalizing the agency’s 2016 draft guidance, as well as outlining its intended approach to testing and enforcement.
The final guidance sets limits on inorganic arsenic for infant rice cereal at 100 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) or 100 parts per billion (ppb).
“The U.S. rice industry remains committed to providing healthy and nutritious food to consumers and we will continue to work with our farmers and processors, as well as regulatory agencies, to provide accurate and transparent information about U.S. rice and rice products,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly administer the international food safety standards-setting body, CODEX, that has concluded rice grown in the United States has the lowest inorganic arsenic levels of the more than 40 countries tested, including China and India – two of the top rice-producing countries in the world.  

FDA’s own testing of rice for infant cereal has demonstrated significant reduction in inorganic arsenic levels in the U.S. as a result of best management practices the industry has been aggressively developing and implementing.
Ward said the U.S. rice industry will continue to monitor and adjust best practice recommendations.  “In fact, USA Rice was proactive in creating a Food Safety Management Practices Task Force that was established to better understand the factors contributing to levels of arsenic in rice, and develop and advocate for best management practices through monitoring and management.”

“The U.S rice industry has no objection to the guidance levels published by the FDA,” Ward continued.  “And we encourage the FDA to hold our trading partners to the same standards to which we abide.”