arsenic in rice regulationsThe scales are tipping in favor of the consumer with the announcement of a new legislation in Europe on the issue of arsenic in rice.

On June 25 2015, Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1006 (link to regulation document) amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 set the maximum inorganic arsenic detection limits for rice and rice products to the following limits.

 

Type of Rice Limit
Rice intended for baby food 0.10 mg/kg
Polished white rice 0.20 mg/kg
Husked rice and parboiled rice 0.25 mg/kg
Rice cakes and other rice products 0.30 mg/kg

 

For trace elemental analysis of toxic metals in food, this is welcome news as it clearly differentiates the foodstuffs and recognizes the impact and potential intake of infants.

Arsenic, being one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top ten chemicals of public health concern (link to site) will always cause alarm when mentioned alongside anything food related, but it is the ability to separate and measure the different arsenic species which is of key interest to analytical chemists, as it is the inorganic form which is toxic.

The timely release of our application note, written in collaboration with researchers at The University of Aberdeen, titled, Determination of Inorganic Arsenic in Rice using IC-ICP-MS (link to downloadable pdf) describes a total workflow methodology and perfectly complements the work by Professor Andy Meharg and his team which was published in the Journal of Food Chemistry titled: Inorganic arsenic in rice-based products for infants and young children (link to open access journal article) – there is also a free-to-download pdf on the page too.

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Both these methods couple ion chromatography to an ICP-MS detector to ensure optimum separation, detection and confirmation of the organic and inorganic species.

I am extremely pleased by the news of this legislation as it answers some of the questions posed in my previous two blog posts earlier this year on this exact topic: In ICP-MS Arsenic Speciation in Rice: The Media and The Science (link to post) and Arsenic Speciation in Rice: Fast & Simple Analysis Using IC-ICP-MS (link to post) I discuss both the background, scientific opinion and arsenic analysis options.

But, if you want your arsenic straight up, I found this wonderful website giving Arsenic FAQ (link to page) in simple to understand terminology. It all appears factually correct and I especially love the answer to “what does ppb mean?” as I have given similar answers to my friends in the past.

 

Additional Resources

Do check out our Food Community which is a wonderful resource that is totally dedicated to our Food and Beverage customers and features the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.

 

Is trace metal analysis and/or arsenic speciation of interest to your laboratory? If so I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences.