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  1. Metals and Your Food

Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements

Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements

The FDA monitors and regulates levels of arsenic in foods, dietary supplements, as well as in cosmetics. Arsenic can occur in food because it is in the environment as a naturally occurring element and from consumer and industrial products and processes. Arsenic levels in the environment are generally low but can vary depending on the natural geological makeup of local areas. For example, volcanic eruptions can bring arsenic from the earth’s interior to the surface. Contamination from mining, fracking, coal-fired power plants, arsenic-treated lumber, and arsenic-containing pesticides also contribute to increased levels of arsenic in certain locations.

Arsenic does not disappear from the environment over time, and it is not possible to remove arsenic entirely from the food supply. The FDA, therefore, seeks to limit consumer exposure to arsenic to the greatest extent feasible by monitoring the food supply, setting action levels for arsenic in certain foods, and taking regulatory action when levels of arsenic are too high.

The FDA’s Toxic Elements Working Group identifies and prioritizes FDA activities to reduce exposure to arsenic from specific foods.  In 2021, the FDA laid out our specific activities to reduce exposure to arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium from foods consumed by babies and young children, in our Closer to Zero action plan.  

Tips for Limiting Exposure to Arsenic

  • Check your well water
  • Eat a varied and nutritious diet
  • Learn about juice recommendations for children
  • Get strategies for rice and infant rice cereal

What You Can Do to Limit Exposure to Arsenic

What You Can Do to Limit Exposure to Arsenic and Lead from Juices

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