We are nearing completion of the data analysis from the second year of our 3-year Testing Plan. This year we focused on quantifying the variability in arsenic levels between crop years and investigating the relationship between water, soil, variety, agronomic practices and arsenic levels. Below is a summary of our progress and learning to-date.
Objective 1: Determine baseline levels by variety across 3 different crop years
Overall, levels from the 2012 crop year are trending lower than the 2011 crop year. The 2012 crop averages 73 ppb of inorganic arsenic, compared to 95 ppb for the 2011 crop. Per serving, this equates to 3.3 mcg versus 4.3 mcg. Comparing specific types, we are seeing 27-54% reductions in 2012 compared to 2011. We attribute this change to normal year-to-year variations, as climatic conditions and farming practices were very similar between these two years. The table below presents a comparison of crop years by variety category:
|2011 Crop Year |
| || ||Average |
|Total Supply Chain ||4.3 ||2.1-6.5 ||120 |
|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 |
|Medium Grain - Brown ||2011 Crop Not Tested |
|Short Grain - Brown ||5.1 ||2.7-6.8 ||27 |
|2012 Crop Year |
| || ||Average |
|Total Supply Chain ||3.3 ||1.4-5.0 ||66 |
|Aromatic Rice ||2.3 ||0.9-3.6 ||15 |
|Non-Aromatic Rice ||3.3 ||0.5-6.3 ||43 |
|Long Grain-Brown ||2.9 ||0.5-6.3 ||15 |
|Long Grain-White ||2012 Crop: Brown Testing Only |
|Medium Grain - Brown ||3 ||2.3-4.1 ||5 |
|Short Grain - Brown ||3.7 ||0.9-8.6 ||19 |
We are preparing for the 2013 crop harvest and testing program. These results will be incorporated into our overall analysis, enabling us to calculate a baseline level. The baseline level is an essential component of our on-going routine monitoring program because it will allow us to identify meaningful shifts in inorganic arsenic levels in our products.
Objective 2: Investigate Relationship between soil, water and inputs on Arsenic Levels
During the 2012 crop year planting cycle, we identified 19 fields that represented various water inputs, soil histories, agronomic practices and varieties. We collected and tested more than 150 samples of water, soil, straw and grain samples for total arsenic, inorganic arsenic and nutrients. Our technical staff is currently analyzing the data for trends and relationships. We will post our findings and next steps later this year.
Objective 3: Determine effect of milling on arsenic levels in finished product
Most of the data we have seen indicates that brown rice has 30-50% higher levels of inorganic arsenic than white rice (references listed below). These studies have also indicated that inorganic arsenic is more concentrated in the bran layer than the endosperm layer rather than being evenly distributed. However, scientists have not determined why or how arsenic is distributed through-out the rice plant and kernel.
We decided to investigate the impact of milling, or removing the bran layer, on total arsenic level and inorganic arsenic concentration. We identified 1 lot of rice and followed it through various milling steps. Samples were analyzed for total arsenic, inorganic arsenic, DMA and MMA.
Our results corroborate previously published studies. There was a 37% reduction in total arsenic and 47% reduction in inorganic arsenic as the bran layer was removed. The inorganic/total arsenic ratio was also decreased by 9%.
We remain committed to invest time and resources in this testing plan to provide you with meaningful data. We will continue to collect and analyze samples across our product lines and from multiple crop years to ensure the reliability of our data. 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.
Page last updated: 9/4/13