Rice is an important and nutritious contributor to a balanced and healthy diet. As arsenic is naturally present in air, soil and water, a wide range of foods – including rice – may contain arsenic at low levels. Milk and dairy products, along with drinking water are also significant sources of arsenic.
When traces are found in rice it is mainly in the less harmful organic form. The quantities of inorganic arsenic in rice are generally very low, and tend to be found in regions such as Bangladesh where there are higher levels of arsenic in the soil and water. Average levels of inorganic arsenic are well below the new maximum limits established by the European Commission in January 2016. Testing by European rice millers has found that more than 99% of samples comply with the new legislation. These results demonstrate that there is no health risk associated with the regular consumption of rice purchased in the UK.