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Levels of Arsenic in Rice: The Effects of Cooking

University of Aberdeen
Start date
End date
Total arsenic and arsenic speciation was performed on rice that had undergone various forms of cooking. Basmati, long-grain, polished (white) and wholegrain (brown), as well as parboiled rice, were investigated. The effect of rinse washing, low volume (2.5:1 water:rice) and high volume (6:1 water:rice) cooking, as well as steaming, were investigated. Rinse washing was effective at removing circa. 10% of the total and inorganic arsenic from basmati rice, but was less effective for other rice types. While steaming reduced total and inorganic arsenic rice content, it did not do so consistently across all rice types investigated. Low volume water cooking did not remove arsenic. High volume water:rice cooking did effectively remove both total and inorganic arsenic for the long-grain and basmati rice (parboiled was not investigated in high volume cooking water experiment), by 35% and 45% for total and inorganic arsenic content, respectively, compared to uncooked (raw) rice.

To reduce arsenic content of cooked rice, specifically the inorganic component, rinse washing and high volume of cooking water are effective.

More information
The final report, "Levels of Arsenic in Rice: The Effects of Cooking" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the FSA.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Food Preparation and Handling
Heavy Metals