FDA Moves to Limit Inorganic Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 4, 2016

FDA Moves to Limit Inorganic Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

The FDA proposed on Friday a limit for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, citing epidemiologic evidence that exposure to inorganic arsenic during infancy can adversely affect some developmental outcomes.

Inorganic arsenic levels are higher in rice than in other foods partly because rice plants, as they grow, absorb the element from the environment more than other crops do.

Rice consumption among infants is three times higher than that among adults (relative to body weight), according to the FDA. What's more, rice intake (again, relative to body weight) peaks at roughly 8 months of age.

The proposed arsenic limit — 100 parts per billion (ppb) — was only being met by about 50% of infant rice cereals tested in 2014. Roughly 75% were at or below 110 ppb.

The FDA is accepting public comments on the proposed measure for 90 days.

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