Rice-based products are widely used to feed infants and young children. However, the association of rice-based products and high arsenic (As) concentrations have been investigated in a number of studies, but there is limited information from Australia. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the As concentration and dietary exposure in infant rice milk, cereal, crackers and pasta as well as to investigate the relationship between As concentration and rice content, rice type and product origin. Total arsenic (tAs) concentrations were determined by nitric acid digestion and ICP-MS while inorganic arsenic (iAs) was determined by acid extraction, followed by ICP-MS with an interfaced hydride generation system. Nearly 75% of samples had inorganic As exceeding the EU maximum levels for infants and children (0.1 mg kg-1) and the mean iAs percentage of total reached as high as 84.8%. High tAs concentration was positively correlated with rice content and also related to brown (wholegrain). Estimates of dietary exposure showed that infants consuming large amounts of rice pasta or crackers will have an increased risk of health impact associated with excess intake of As through dietary exposure. Moreover, the current Australian guidelines for As in rice (1 mg kg-1) are above the WHO or EU guideline and therefore, will be less protective of high sensitivity consumers like infants and children.
Keywords: Oryza sativa; arsenic; baby food; dietary exposure; dietary intake; food safety; inorganic arsenic; rice-based food.