Yes, we have been testing for arsenic in our products for the past four years. The average level of inorganic arsenic in our rice over these four years was 0.093 ppm (or 4.2 µg/serving). It should be noted that our 2012, 2013, and 2014 crop year results only include brown rice. These levels are less than half of the standard for white rice (polished rice) adopted by Codex and less than one third of the standard proposed by Codex for brown rice (husked rice).
To date, Lundberg has collected and tested over 330 samples of our varieties across four consecutive crop years for inorganic arsenic. For the most recent year that we have data on, the average µg/serving is 4.41 and the cumulative four year average is 4.20. This compares to an average of 6.6 µg/serving of all brown rice reviewed by Consumer Reports.
In any given season, we grow 17-20 varieties of rice, which become many different products when considering white and brown rice applications, Organic and Eco-Farmed, as well as blends. The amount of data necessary to accurately predict a particular packaged item would become unwieldy. Therefore, we have grouped our varieties into commonly divided categories based on size, shape and eating characteristics.
We categorize our rice varieties according to the three main types used in the industry, long, medium and short. Additionally, we have a separate aromatic category due to their tendency to have lower concentrations of inorganic arsenic. Finally, due to its popularity and health benefits we group colored varieties into their a separate category. Below is a description of the five categories:
Our testing results, research, and consultation with other food producers indicate that the brown rice syrup manufacturing process does not concentrate the level of inorganic arsenic. It appears that the level in the syrup is at the same level as the rice that was used to make the syrup.
There have been no recommendations from professional health organizations for general testing of arsenic in the public. Your health is a personal matter between you and your physician, and if you have concerns, you should consult your physician. If your drinking water comes from a private well, it would be prudent to have the well water tested. Arsenic concentrations vary across the country, and are particularly high in some regions.
Based on four consecutive years of testing our products, the average concentration of inorganic arsenic is less than half of the white rice standard established by Codex.
Additionally, the health benefits of rice have been studied extensively over the years. These studies consistently point to multiple benefits, including lowering risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Visit the Whole Grains Council website for more on the benefits of brown rice.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, more commonly referred to as “Codex”, is a commission established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop harmonized international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to promote safer and more nutritious food for consumers worldwide and ensure fair food trade practices. It also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations1. These standards are established after years of rigorous study and debate among participating nations.
At its July 2014 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Codex adopted a maximum level for arsenic in white rice (polished rice) of 0.2 mg/kg, or 200 parts per billion (ppb) and agreed to develop a code of practice to help countries comply.
During the March 2015 meeting in New Delhi India the Codex committee agreed to forward the proposed draft ML of 0.35 mg/kg of inorganic arsenic in husked rice (brown rice) to the CAC for adoption at Step 5 (subject to further consideration at the 2016 session).
Lundberg Family Farms is proud of our strong grower network. We regularly review our carefully selected growers, handlers and processors to ensure that food safety regulations and agricultural standards are consistently met. The vast majority of rice used in our products comes from California. All of the rice in our 1 pound, 2 pound, 4 pound and 12 pound bags comes from California. Our wild rice is sourced from California, Minnesota and Canada. We also source rice from our growers and processors in the Southern United States. We do this when we have challenging growing conditions that reduce yields in the field, or when demand grows substantially faster than we anticipate. When rice is sourced from the Southern United States, it typically is in 25 pound bags, and labeled as “American”, rather than “California”, such as “American Long Grain”, rather than “California Long Grain”.
The FDA data released in 2012 and 2013 is not brand-specific, nor is the Consumer Reports 2014 article. We cannot speculate on what others find, but do report on the results of our own testing, as shown in our four years of data posted on our website.
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 and complementary factors. 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.
No, cotton has not been grown on our fields. We also have not seen data that corroborates the suggestion that rice in the United States is widely grown on the same soils as is cotton.
Last Updated: 6/22/15