More information about arsenic in rice based foods.
Arsenic is an element that is naturally present in soil and water which means that plants absorb it along with other elements as they grow. There are tiny amounts of it almost everywhere which makes it impossible to avoid.
At Organix the safety of our foods is our top priority and we test all of our foods rigorously to ensure they comply with any current regulation as well as reviewing all of our foods to ensure we would meet all future legislative changes.
Over recent years the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have studied data from EU member states and from this new inorganic arsenic legislation is in place as of Jan 1st 2016. This regulation sets out maximum levels of inorganic arsenic for certain foods.
For more detailed information about this please see below.
- What is arsenic?
Arsenic is an element that is naturally present in soil and water which means that plants absorb it along with other elements as they grow.
There are tiny amounts of arsenic almost everywhere - in seas and in soil, in the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe, and as a result it is impossible to avoid.
- Why is there arsenic in food and rice based foods in particular?
Arsenic is present naturally in many foods, including grains, fruits and vegetables where it is absorbed from the soil and water.
While many crops don’t readily take up much arsenic from the ground, rice is more susceptible to absorbing arsenic than other cereals due to the way it’s grown.
- What is the legislation for the presence of arsenic in baby food?
Following a consultation process assessing the opinions of food industry organisations, consumer groups, local enforcement authorities’ public and independent laboratories and others with an interest in food safety legislation, limits of inorganic arsenic in certain foods have been agreed and came into force from Jan 1st 2016.
- What are the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) inorganic arsenic levels and are they different for food for babies and children?
The EFSA levels are laid out below and any rice that will be used in the manufacture of any food for children under 3 years old is set at 0.10mg/kg, lower than those in place for other foods, rice and rice based foods that you might buy from brands that do not specifically make baby or toddler foods.
All of our rice based foods, including our rice cakes and baby rice, comply with the 0.10mg/kg level set by EFSA and are rigorously tested to ensure levels are as low as reasonably achievable.
Rice destined for the production of food for infants and young children: 0.10 mg/kg
Non-parboiled milled rice (polished or white rice): 0.20 mg/kg
Parboiled rice and husked rice: 0.25 mg/kg
Rice waffles, rice wafers, rice crackers and rice cakes: 0.30 mg/kg
- Should I be concerned about arsenic in your baby foods?
Please be assured that there is no cause for concern about the safety of any of our rice based foods.
The safety of our foods is our top priority and we test all of our foods rigorously to ensure they comply with any current regulation as well as reviewing all of our foods to ensure we would meet all future legislative changes.
- Is it safe for my child to eat your rice based foods?
We want to reassure parents that they should have no cause for concern on any of our rice based foods and support advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to eat a well-balanced diet, with no excess of any one food, for good nutrition.
- Why have I seen information that says in Sweden the advice is not to give rice cakes to a child under six years old
The European Food safety Authority (EFSA) has been working with member states in re-viewing, analysing and debating arsenic limits in food for a number of years and has now agreed on EU-wide arsenic legislation which came into force on 1st January 2016.
The Swedish Food Standards Agency recently delivered an independent report stating their findings which contained advice that rice cakes should not be consumed by children under 6 years of age, although it did not specify any further advice around the feeding of rice or other rice based foods to children.
It is common practice for some EU states to have specific country rules regarding food and drink however at Organix we believe the EFSA findings and the introduction of the new regulations on 1st January are sufficient and we support these, as do the UK Food standards Agency.
- Why is there a difference in arsenic levels between brown or wholegrain rice and white rice?
Brown or wholegrain rice has generally higher concentrations of arsenic because it concentrates in the part of the grain called the germ which is removed to make white rice.
- What is the difference between inorganic arsenic, organic arsenic and total arsenic?
When the term organic is used in this context it is referring to the chemical elements present and is completely different from when we talk about organic food and drink.
Atoms of arsenic bond with other elements to form molecules. If carbon is one of those elements then the compound created is organic. If there is no carbon present it is deemed an “inorganic” compound. Together they are referred to as “total arsenic”.
The inorganic forms of arsenic are the ones that have been more closely associated with long-term health effects but so far most of the data that is collected are reported as total arsenic.
- What’s inorganic got to do with organic foods?
There is no relationship at all between the term “inorganic arsenic” and the organic food movement.
Because arsenic is naturally found in the soil and water, it is absorbed by plants regardless of whether they are grown under conventional or organic farming practices.
- Where do you source your rice from?
At Organix we source our rice and rice flour carefully to ensure it meets with legislation set for baby food and use various suppliers from Italy, Pakistan and Thailand for our round and long grain rice and others in Spain, Romania and Italy for our rice flour.