Consumer Reports has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish standards for arsenic levels in rice and called for the agency to halt the use of arsenic-based treatments in agriculture.
The urging comes after consumer product testing organization analyzed more than 60 rice products, ranging from white rice to rice beverages and crackers, and found measurable quantities of arsenic in virtually all the products, Reuters noted.
According to the group, a fourth of a cup of uncooked rice with the highest levels of inorganic arsenic contained as much of the substance as a liter of water containing the highest legally permissible amount of inorganic arsenic.
The government restricts arsenic levels in water to 10 parts per billion.
Consumer Reports found levels of both organic and inorganic arsenic in the products it tested. Inorganic arsenic has been linked to cancer in human, while organic arsenic is consider less harmful. Brown rice contained more arsenic than white rice. The organization expressed particular concern about rice products marketed to children.
Officials at Consumer Reports said they did not wish to alarm consumers, but to encourage them to reduce consumption of arsenic containing foods.
Representatives of the USA Rice Federation dismissed Consumer Reports’ findings, noting that arsenic is naturally occurring and found in virtually everything, including fruits and vegetables.
Consumer Reports has previously asked the FDA to limit the arsenic content found in grape an apple juices.