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Question:
I've heard that rice has high levels of arsenic. Does that mean rice bran oil does too?

Answer:
Some rice and products made from rice, like rice cakes, flour and cereals, have been found to contain a considerable amount of the heavy metal arsenic - although only a few exceeded the cancer-warning threshold of the State of California (10 mcg per daily serving).

ConsumerLab.com routinely tests for arsenic (as well as lead and cadmium) in products that have the potential to be contaminated, including products which contain rice protein concentrate or rice bran, such as protein powders and greens and whole food powders and pills, as well as minerals and herbs.

Although arsenic can also occur in rice bran oil, it is believed to occur in much lower concentrations than in whole rice. One study of products in Japan found that rice bran oil contained only trace amounts of arsenic that were not of concern (0.03 mg/liter on average - equal to about 0.03 mg/kilogram) compared to much higher levels (0.14 to 0.28 mg/kilogram) found in products such as puffed rice, crackers and noodles (Sun, Environ Int 2009). These findings suggest that arsenic is not as easily taken up into the oily portion of rice as it is into other parts of the grain. It should also be kept in mind that rice bran oil is typically consumed in much smaller amounts than products made from whole rice products. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization have proposed a limit of 0.1 mg/kg of arsenic for rice bran oil (FAO/WHO Food Standards Program 2005) (which is about 3 times as high as that found in the Japanese study) although be aware that this standard does not currently apply to rice bran oil sold.

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Kim5828   July 1, 2015
Plants don't usually take up heavy metals, but rice is the exception. In the south rice is commonly grown in what were once cotton fields, which used arsenic as a pesticide. Source rice from Minnesota, Wisconsin, CA and you'll be safer :)

ConsumerLab.com   July 2, 2015
Hi Kim - Many plants do take up heavy metals, which is why ConsumerLab.com tests all botanical products for heavy metals (lead, arsenic, and cadmium). Products for which we have reported heavy metal contamination include Cocoa Powders (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//cocoa-flavanols/), Green Tea (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//Green_Tea/), Valerian (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//valerian/), Greens and Whole Food Powders (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//greens/), and Maca (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//maca/).

Regina5823   June 29, 2015
Gratitude for all the information ~ Respectfully Regina Rizzo Erwood HHC,AADP

Deborah5822   June 28, 2015
I eat Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cakes quite often. Are these laden with arsenic as well? They are made in California. This is most troublesome. I look forward to your reply as this is my go-to snack.

ConsumerLab.com   November 16, 2015
Hi Deborah - Lundberg has published results for arsenic testing, which you can find here: http://www.lundberg.com/info/arsenic-in-food/#arsenic-testing-results

Deborah8078   November 17, 2015
Do you think they're being objective? Testing their own products...makes me wonder.

This CL Answer initially posted on 6/28/2015. Last updated 8/3/2017.

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