Yes, we have been testing for arsenic in our products for the past three years. The average level of inorganic arsenic in our rice over these three years was 92 parts per billion (ppb), or 4.2 micrograms (mcg) per serving. It should be noted that our 2012 and 2013 crop year results only included brown rice. This level is less than half of the standard adopted by Codex in the summer of 2014. We are just now finishing harvest of the 2014 crop, and will test report on the results next year.
To date, Lundberg has collected and tested over 250 samples of our varieties across three consecutive crop years for inorganic arsenic. Follow this link for a table that summarizes our results for these three crop years. For the most recent year that we have data on, the average MCG per serving is 3.9. This compares to an average of 6.6 MCG per 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 varieties, Organic and Eco-Farmed, as well as blends. The amount of data necessary to accurately predict a particular packaged item would become unwieldy. We have grouped our varieties into commonly divided categories based on size, shape and eating characteristics.
First we break into two types: aromatic and non-aromatic. As has consistently been reported in research literature, aromatic varieties tend to have lower concentrations of inorganic arsenic. This is consistent with our test results. We then break into grain characteristics of Long, Medium and Short. See below for a description of these five ways we categorize our results:
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.
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 three consecutive years of testing of our products, the average concentration of inorganic arsenic is less than half of the standard established this year 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.
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.
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, 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 three years’ of data posted on our website.
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 rice of 0.2/kg, or 200 parts per billion (ppb) and agreed to develop a code of practice to help countries comply.
Last Updated: 11/18/14