The UK’s Food Standards Agency has said EU member states are close to consent on a limit for inorganic arsenic levels in rice-based foods.
Reports in the UK proposed “possible dangerous” traces of arsenic had been found in baby food and children’s breakfast cereals.
Nowadays, there are no EU-wide regulations for arsenic levels in food. The UK has a general limit of 1mg/kg for arsenic in food categories. The FSA has been hooked in discussions in Europe since 2009 about the need to set limits for inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products.
The spokesperson said, “There are regulations on the amount of arsenic in water but no limits currently for food. Discussions are ongoing in Europe between member states to agree maximum levels for rice and rice products. The limits are close to being agreed, and we expect them to apply from mid next year.”
When asked about the impact on to manufacturers of rice-based foods and time frame for when their products were expected to meet guidelines, the spokesperson said this had “not been clarified yet”.
FSA spokesperson told just-food, “While inorganic arsenic is a naturally occurring ingredient in many foods, too much “could be harmful to health”. The food safety protector in the past has suggested parents do not give toddlers and young children rice milk.
“This will be specified in the regulation when finalized,” the spokesperson added.