In February 2012, researchers discovered high levels of inorganic arsenic in two Nature’s One infant formula products. The blame was planted firmly on organic brown rice syrup (OBRS), which is used as a sweetener in organic foods.
More than six months on, tests conducted by Consumer Reports on two Nature’s One dairy-based infant formula products only found levels of inorganic arsenic at undetectable levels – 4 parts per billion (ppb) or less.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a maximum safe limit for arsenic in drinking water at 10ppb. There are, however, no regulations applicable to inorganic arsenic in food in the US or EU. Only Chin has set regulatory limits relating to inorganic arsenic in food.
“We included samples of two Nature’s One dairy formulas and one soy formula in our tests,” said Consumer Reports in response to their follow-up tests. “When we tested the new versions of the two dairy formulas, the levels were either undetectable or nearly so.”
Nature’s One confirmed the Consumer Reports results on its website.
“No organic or inorganic arsenic was detected at testing limits of 4 atoms of arsenic per 1 billion atoms of organic brown rice syrup.”
The firm’s CEO, Jay Highman, added in a statement: “We are very happy Consumer Reports’ arsenic testing validates the undetectable test results we’ve received by the independent lab, Applied Speciation Laboratory.”
US-based Nature’s One has attributed the results to two factors – its supplier and the implementation of new filtration technology.
“This [the firm’s supplier] coupled with our new organic-compliant filtration system has resulted in undetectable levels of arsenic in our organic brown rice syrup,” said Highman.
In August 2012, DairyReporter.com reported that Nature’s One had adopted new filtration technology that reduced arsenic found in organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) to undetectable levels of 4ppb or less.
The technology implementation followed a vow from the company to step up its efforts to minimise and eliminate the presence of environmental contaminants such as arsenic from its products.
In sync with the Consumer Reports results, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its own preliminary data on arsenic levels in rice and rice products.
The Agency is in the process of collecting and analysing around 1,200 samples, which once completed will determine whether or not the FDA should issue “additional recommendations.”
"Based on the currently available data and scientific literature the FDA does not have an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products,” said an FDA statement.
“While the FDA data is consistent with results that Consumer Reports published today, the initial data collection is a first step in the agency’s on-going more thorough data analysis,” the FDA statement added.