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Arsenic speciation in food in Belgium. Part 2: Cereals and cereal products

Ruttens, A., Cheyns, K., Blanpain, A.C., De Temmerman, L., Waegeneers, N.
Food and chemical toxicology 2018 v.118 pp. 32-41
European Union, arsenates, arsenic, arsenites, breads, breakfast, brown rice, carcinogens, humans, markets, pasta, toxicology, wheat, Belgium
This study reports results of total arsenic (Astot) and various As species in 75 samples of cereals and cereal products bought on the Belgian market. In addition to rice, the samples were wheat, pasta, bread and some breakfast cereals.The inorganic species arsenite (AsIII) and arsenate (AsV), and the organic As compounds dimethyl arsinate (DMA) and monomethyl arsonate (MA) were the only As species detected. Mean Astot was 0.150 ± 0.089 mg kg−1 in rice and 0.012 ± 0.008 mg kg− in the non-rice cereals. The inorganic arsenic fraction (Asi = AsIII + AsV) dominated in all samples and was in the range 55%–100%. Significantly higher Astot and Asi concentrations were observed in white rice and brown rice compared to Basmati rice. Within the group of non-rice cereals bread and pasta showed significantly lower concentrations compared to wheat. All 30 rice samples were conform to the European maximum limits for Asi, laid down in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1006. Although regulatory limits certainly can help to protect consumer health, our results suggest that the currently fixed European maximum levels are, in Belgium, not expected to have any impact on the human exposure to Asi, which is a known carcinogenic substance.