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FDA to reassess arsenic in rice

by Britt Erickson
April 22, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 17

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Credit: Shutterstock
FDA has yet to finalize its 2016 draft guidance, which recommends a limit of 100 ppb arsenic in infant rice cereal.

To manage the health risks of arsenic in rice, the U.S. FDA and Department of Agriculture should work together, a report by the Government Accountability Office says. GAO’s investigation found that FDA hasn’t updated its assessment of the health risks of arsenic in rice since 2016. FDA also has yet to finalize its 2016 draft guidance, which recommends a limit of 100 ppb of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, the report notes. Infants face a higher risk than the rest of the population because their diets are less varied, FDA noted when it issued the draft guidance. Long-term ingestion of arsenic is associated with cardiovascular disease and other human health effects, according to several reviews. In response to the GAO report, FDA and USDA agreed to create a coordinated mechanism for developing methods for detecting food contaminants such as arsenic. FDA also agreed to develop a timeline for updating its risk assessment and finalizing its draft guidance on arsenic in infant rice cereal.

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