The need for regulatory action on inorganic arsenic in baby foods
Rice-based baby food has been in the news headlines lately due to potentially concerning levels of arsenic and other heavy metals. Infants and young children are vulnerable consumers, and the levels of contaminants to which they are exposed are assessed with greater scrutiny due to the lower body weight and thus lower levels of contaminants they can tolerate. This article covers why arsenic is of concern, its toxicological limits, how arsenic gets into rice, how it can be measured in the laboratory and on the field, and the regulatory limits for arsenic in baby food (if any) in Australia and other major jurisdictions, as well as pertinent international standards. Finally, the article discusses the levels of arsenic in rice products on the Australian market and the need for further regulatory measures regarding inorganic arsenic in baby food.