Limiting Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal

FDA moves to limit inorganic arsenic found in infant rice cereal

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued guidance meant to limit exposure to inorganic arsenic among infants.

This action limits the amount of inorganic arsenic allowed in infant rice cereal. According to the FDA, arsenic exposure in infants has been tied to neurodevelopmental effects.

The FDA is finalizing guidance that was first drafted in 2016. The guidance limits inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal to 100 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) or 100 parts per billion (ppb).

“It is important to note that the agency’s data show that most products on the market are already below this level and that parents and caregivers should know that a well-balanced diet also includes a variety of grains like oats and barley," said Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a press release.

Over the last ten years, FDA testing has suggested that manufacturers of infant rice cereal have already made progress in limiting inorganic arsenic in their products. In 2014, 36 percent of samples tested between 2011 and 2013 were at or below the 100 ppb level. By 2018, that number had jumped to 76 percent.

“Our action is yet another step as part of a broader effort, led by the FDA’s Toxic Elements Working Group, to identify, target and prioritize agency efforts to reduce exposure to toxic elements from food, especially in people most vulnerable to the health effects of toxic elements in food, including infants and children,” Dr. Mayne said.

Before adding or removing major foods from your young child's diet, speak with your pediatrician. A health care provider can help you ensure that your child gets a balanced diet and avoids exposure to potential toxins like inorganic arsenic.

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Review Date: 
September 3, 2020