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Frequently asked questions on arsenic levels in rice and rice products

Updated BfR FAQ, 4 August 2015

Rice is a valuable foodstuff containing many important nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. For this reason, this cereal should form part of a balanced diet. Rice is also gluten-free. It is therefore an alternative to common cereals containing gluten for those who suffer from a gluten intolerance.

Measurements by the monitoring authorities of the federal states have revealed that rice and rice-based products, such as rice cakes, rice snacks and rice flakes for creamed rice, could contain high levels of inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is classified as carcinogenic to humans. To date, it has not been possible to define a safe daily intake level.

On behalf of the BfR, levels of inorganic and total arsenic in rice cakes and rice-based baby and toddler food were examined by the federal and state bodies within the scope of the Food Monitoring 2014 in order to improve the base of available data for health assessments of these products. The results show that the levels of inorganic arsenic in the products analysed within the scope of these examinations were lower than in those rice products analysed in the tests whose results were used by the BfR as the basis for its opinion (018/2015)[1]. The monitoring results are expected to be published by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) by the end of 2015.

The European Commission has decided to introduce maximum limits for inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products with effect from 01 January 2016. The BfR has compiled questions and answers on this topic.

[1] BfR Opinion No. 018/2015 of 24.06.2014 “Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products”, available online at



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