Lundberg Product FAQs
1. Is Lundberg Family Farms testing for arsenic?
Yes, we are testing for arsenic in our products. We have established an Arsenic Testing Plan to help bring understanding to the issue of arsenic in rice. We say understand because we intend to not only determine the levels of arsenic in our rice, but also determine what they mean. Our plan has three objectives:
- Determine the levels of arsenic in all of our varieties from three different crop years.
- Determine the levels of arsenic in our soil, water and inputs over the course of three crop years.
- Determine the effect of processing on arsenic levels in our finished product.
Will this plan really take three years? Yes. We are motivated to invest time in this project to provide you with meaningful data. In order to do so, we must collect and analyze a sizable number of samples across our product lines and from multiple crop years. Otherwise, there would be no way to ensure the reliability of our data. And when it comes to understanding our products, we want to be sure. At Lundberg Family Farms, your health and safety is our primary concern. We are committed to enabling you and your family to make healthy and informed decisions about your food; this commitment is the driving force behind our Arsenic Testing Plan.
2. How much inorganic arsenic is in a serving of Lundberg Family Farms rice?
Lundberg Family Farms has collected and tested over 120 samples for inorganic arsenic and released the results, which average 95 ppb. The samples included all of our varieties, milled to both brown and white. Below is a table that summarizes our results for Aromatic Rice, Non-Aromatic Rice, Long Grain Brown, Long Grain White and Short Grain in micrograms/servings. We have also included the published results from Consumer Reports (Sept 2012) and FDA (Sept 2012) for comparison. Levels of inorganic arsenic in rice are known to vary depending on factors such as variety, harvest year, soil type and milling level (brown or white) and is demonstrated by the ranges presented by Consumer Reports and FDA. Our results fall within the ranges found by both Consumer Reports and FDA.
| || ||Average (mcg/serving) ||Range (mcg/serving) ||Number of Samples |
|Lundberg Family Farms ||Aromatic Rice ||3.7 ||0.5-8.5 ||43 |
|Non-Aromatic Rice ||5.3 ||1.35-10.8 ||77 |
|Long Grain-Brown ||6.3 ||2.7-10.8 ||44 |
|Long Grain-White ||3.3 ||0.5-7.2 ||28 |
|Short Grain-Brown ||5.1 ||2.7-6.8 ||27 |
|FDA ||Basmati Rice ||3.5 ||1.2-9.0 ||52 |
|Rice (Non-Basmati) ||6.7 ||2.2-11.1 ||49 |
|Consumer Reports ||White Basmati ||NA ||1.3-1.6 ||3 |
|Brown Short Grain ||NA ||3.8-5.4 ||3 |
3. Why hasn't Lundberg Family Farms released test results for specific varieties??
Our Arsenic Testing Plan, which spans 3 consecutive crop years, outlines our commitment to obtaining meaningful data to help bring understanding to the issue of arsenic in rice. We are committed to sharing accurate and meaningful information with our consumers and therefore will continue to summarize and communicate our results.
In order to ensure that we are accurately representing the levels within a specific variety, we need to obtain sufficient data from specific points within our supply chain. The quantity of data collected from 2011 crop year did not allow us to confidently differentiate levels across all of our varieties and therefore we only reported the data by Basmati-Types, Non-Basmati Types, Long Grain and Short Grain.
As we continue to collect data from the 2012 and 2013 crop years, we will increase our ability to more accurately understand and specifically represent inorganic arsenic levels across variety categories. Additional data by variety will be available in Spring 2013.
4. Is Chicken Litter Used in Your Production Systems?
Yes, chicken litter is one of the sources of fertility used in the production of organic rice. The Organic Systems Plan of each of our family of growers addresses how they will manage the production of their crop with many interrelated complementary factors. For more information on this, please see our Farming Practices page. The litter used to grow our rice complies with standards established through the National Organic Program and Organic Materials Review Institute. Each of the suppliers of chicken litter guarantees us or our growers that they do not use arsenicals in their poultry production systems, nor do they add any inputs after the litter has left the chicken houses.
5. Should I be tested for arsenic if I consume Lundberg products?
Background levels of arsenic in rice or rice products have not been associated with short-term health effects, and the focus of concern seems to be on lifetime exposure to low levels of arsenic in the diet. If you do have concerns about your potential exposure to arsenic from your environment or the foods you eat you should consult your physician.
6. Are you recalling your products?
No, we are not recalling our products. We take the health and safety of our consumers seriously, and stand behind the safety of our products.
7. Why does Lundberg believe its products are safe?
Our preliminary results are consistent with the FDA’s first analytical results on arsenic levels in rice and rice products, posted on September 19, 2012.
Based on current research, FDA states there is an absence of adequate scientific data to demonstrate causal relationship between rice and rice product consumption and the types of illness typically associated with arsenic. FDA is continuing to collect and analyze 1000 more samples to better understand the exposure to arsenic in rice and conduct a full health risk analysis. We have also been consulting toxicological experts regarding these levels, and support this conclusion based on their expert opinion.
Additionally, the health benefits of rice have been studied extensively over the years. You can click on this link for a quick reference to many of them. They consistently point to multiple benefits, including lowering risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome (http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2010/12/rice-improves-diet-reduces-disease-risk.aspx) (http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20100614/brown-rice-vs-white-rice-which-is-better).
Based on their preliminary data and available scientific research, FDA is not recommending changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products. Eating a balanced and diversified diet that includes a variety of grains in order to ensure good nutrition is FDA’s current advice for consumers
We appreciate the concern for consumers’ health and will continue to seek ways to reduce inorganic arsenic levels in our products. We also support additional research into the long-term health impacts of lifetime exposure of arsenic from food.
8. Has cotton been grown on your fields?
No, cotton has not been grown on our fields. While there has been much speculation linking the overlap of cotton and rice production, we are not aware of any scientific evidence that demonstrates specific field history of cotton growing with increased presence of arsenic in rice coming from that same field. We understand why people make this connection in the abstract, but would encourage individuals to resist this speculation until it is demonstrated with scientific research. One scientific paper we have reviewed suggests that only 5% of land in the US overlaps cotton and rice production (Proceedings from 2012 USDA-ARS Arsenic in Rice Research Summit). We support further research on the various factors that impact the level of arsenic in the soil, as well as the impact that has on the uptake of arsenic in rice.
9. Where do you source your rice?
Lundberg Family Farms is proud of our strong grower network. We regularly review our carefully selected growers, handlers and processors to ensure food safety regulations and agricultural standards are consistently met. The vast majority of the rice used in our products comes from California. All of the rice in our 1 pound, 2 pound and 12 pound packaged rice, including wild rice, comes from California. We do work occasionally with our Lundberg Family Farms rice grower and processor partners located in the Southern United States. We do this when the available rice supply in California is not sufficient to meet the demand. This generally happens when we have challenging growing conditions that reduce yields in the field, or when demand grows substantially faster than we anticipate.
10. Didn't 'Environmental Science and Technology' report in an April 2007 edition that Lundberg's Brown Basmati had the lowest arsenic among rices in the US?
Yes, we are aware of that study, and its findings regarding varying arsenic levels in rice, and that one of the varieties of our brand was cited as having the lowest concentrations of arsenic. This study is one of the many that we have links to on our web site, as part of our effort to enable consumers to review data themselves. Because we are not familiar with the process employed by this study, and cannot confirm that its results would be consistently replicated, we are not relying on it as a definitive finding.
From our perspective, the most important issue continues to be the impact on human health of long-term ingestion of arsenic, from all sources. We believe the US Food and Drug Administration is currently conducting a risk assessment, and look to that for future guidance about the impact of inorganic arsenic in rice. We also support additional research into methods that will reduce levels of inorganic arsenic in rice even further, whether it be in the field or in the processing of the rice.
11. Lundberg’s arsenic levels for some products appear to be lower compared to others reported by Consumer Reports. What do you attribute that to?
We do not know specifically why some of our numbers are lower. Arsenic movement from the environment into grain is very complicated and can be influenced by many factors. For example, arsenic naturally occurs in the earth’s crust and is not uniformly distributed throughout soils or rock. Concentrations in soils and availability for uptake are strongly influenced by parent rock formations, soil types, organic matter content, mineral profile and microbial flora. The arsenic content of US soils averages 7,200 parts per billion, but can ranges from 100 – 97,000 parts per billion (Shacklette, H.T., and J.G. Boerngen. 1984. Element concentration in soils and other surficial materials of the conterminous United States. USGS Professional Paper 1270. U.S. Geological Survey) We do support ongoing research to determine the factors that impact levels of inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products, as well as research to develop methods to reduce those levels further.
12. Lundberg’s arsenic levels for some products appear to be higher compared to others reported by Consumer Reports. What do you attribute that to?
We do not know specifically why our numbers are higher. One potential reason they may appear to be higher is that many of our products contain brown rice, which can have higher levels of inorganic arsenic since they contain the bran and germ, whereas white rice has both removed. We support ongoing research to determine the factors that impact levels of inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products, as well as research to develop methods to reduce those levels further.