FDA recommends reducing arsenic in infant rice cereal

FDA recommends reducing arsenic in infant rice cereal

FDA recommends reducing arsenic in infant rice cereal

The FDA recommends reducing arsenic in infant rice cereal, according to a new announcement last Friday.

Infant rice cereal is one of the biggest causes of arsenic exposure in infants, the FDA said. Arsenic can get into rice from fertilizers and pesticides.

As stated in the FDA news release on arsenic in infant rice cereal:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, a leading source of arsenic exposure in infants. Relative to body weight, rice intake for infants, primarily through infant rice cereal, is about three times greater than for adults.  Moreover, national intake data show that people consume the most rice (relative to their weight) at approximately 8 months of age.

Through a draft guidance to industry, the FDA is proposing a limit or “action level” of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal. This is parallel to the level set by the European Commission (EC) for rice intended for the production of food for infants and young children. (The EC standard concerns the rice itself; the FDA’s proposed guidance sets a draft level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.) FDA testing found that the majority of infant rice cereal currently on the market either meets, or is close to, the proposed action level.

Our actions are driven by our duty to protect the public health and our careful analysis of the data and the emerging science,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The proposed limit is a prudent and achievable step to reduce exposure to arsenic among infants.”

Arsenic exposure in infants and pregnant women is linked to decreased performance on learning measurement tests, the FDA noted.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) wrote in a statement that they were very happy about the move by the FDA to reduce arsenic in infant rice cereal.

ACOG President Dr. Mark DeFrancesco applauded the agency for “its thoughtful analysis of arsenic in rice and rice products and its potential health impact.”

ACOG guidance will remain the same: Ob-gyns should continue to advise women to eat a variety of whole grains. For pregnant women, half of their grains should consist of whole grains,” DeFrancesco added.

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1. “FDA Proposes Limit for Inorganic Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
2. “ACOG Statement on the FDA’s Updated Guidance on Arsenic in Rice.” American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
3. “FDA Suggests Arsenic Limit in Infant Rice Cereal.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

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