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Frequently asked questions on arsenic in rice and rice products

Updated BfR FAQ, 22 December 2020

Rice is a food that contains important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, minerals and fibres. For this reason, this cereal should form part of a balanced diet. Rice is also gluten-free and is, therefore, an alternative to cereals containing gluten for those who suffer from a gluten intolerance.

Studies carried out by the monitoring authorities of the German federal states (“Laender”) have revealed that rice and rice-based products, such as rice cakes, rice snacks and rice flakes for creamed rice, could contain high concentrations of inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is classified as carcinogenic to humans and to date, it has not been possible to define a safe daily intake level.

On behalf of the BfR, concentrations of inorganic and total arsenic in rice cakes and rice-based baby and infant food were examined by federal and state bodies as part of the 2014 food monitoring in order to improve the base of available data for a health risk assessment of these products. The results show that the concentrations of inorganic arsenic in the products analysed within the scope of these examinations were lower than in those rice products analysed in the tests, the results of which were used by the BfR as the basis for its opinion Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products (018/2015) PDF-File (306.3 KB). The monitoring results were published by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) in 2016:

https://www.bvl.bund.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/01_Lebensmittel/01_lm_mon_dokumente/01_Monitoring_Berichte/2014_lm_monitoring_bericht.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6

The European Commission decided to introduce maximum concentrations for inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products, effective as of 1 January 2016. The BfR has compiled questions and answers on this subject.

 

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Opinion

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Date Title Size
24.06.2014
BfR Opinion No. 018/2015
Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products 306.3 KB
PDF-File

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FAQ

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Date Title Size
22.12.2020
Updated BfR FAQ
Frequently asked questions on arsenic in rice and rice products 84.0 KB
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