about arsenic

We are not particularly familiar with wild rice - that's not what we do - but to our surprise we get a l,,,

Before we proceed, I'd like to mention Low heavy metals Verified, an encouraging, non-commercial initiative that has laid a self-certifying framework for food producers (due to the absence of any regulation by the FDA and the USDA). In line with the standards they have set, we reach the highest level, A+++, for all 4 heavy metals.   

Arsenic presents in two forms, either ORGANIC or INORGANIC and it's the latter that is a known carcinogen (with cancerous effects). Unfortunately, the situation in the US is that Arsenic in groundwater sometimes reaches critical levels. Whereas US legislation fo Arsenic levels in drinking water is enforced, for food standards there are only guidelines available from the EU and the WHO.

In 2013 the US FDA concluded, after analysing 1300 rice and rice-based food samples on total and inorganic arsenic, that the amounts of detectable inorganic arsenic were low enough to not cause any adverse health effects.  

Nevertheless, Arsenic values are one of Rebirth Rice's main criteria to select rice growers and farmer cooperatives and we reassess our findings every two years.

We screen on TOTAL Arsenic (organic + inorganic) and if values exceed 0.25 mg/kg, INORGANIC Arsenic will be quantified. This reference point is based on:

  • Statistically Northern Thailand shows an organic-to-inorganic Arsenic ratio of 3:1. This implies that, for a value of 0.30mg/kg of TOTAL Arsenic, INORGANIC Arsenic levels can be expected to be around 0.10mg/kg.

  • Early 2016, the Eu set the maximum levels of INORGANIC Arsenic to 0.25mg/kg for husked brown and other pigmented rice varieties.

  • Also in 2016, the US FDA proposed a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 100ppb (0.10mg/kg) for INORGANIC arsenic in infant rice cereal. This is a tripled down value, compared to adults, as young children consume approximately three times more food on a bodyweight basis. Rebirth Rice has no intention to make processed rice products, certainly not infant rice cereal, but we have decided to set this value as a standard for our husked rice.