Rice is the staple food of Taiwan. People highly concern about the issue of heavy metals in rice. In order to protect the public health, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has developed an analytical method for arsenic detection in rice by Liquid Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. In order to verify the analytical method, TFDA has participated in two international proficiency tests recently: “Metallic Contaminants in Rice Cakes” and “Determination of Mass Fraction of Inorganic Elements and Arsenic Species in Brown Rice Flour”, which were respectively conducted by FAPAS (Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme) and Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority. The achievement is that the reported results measured by TFDA are all passed, and the measured values are the nearest to the assigned values among all participating laboratories, which indicates that the ability of determining inorganic arsenic by TFDA has reached the international levels.
Arsenic can be divided into organic and inorganic. The inorganic arsenic is much more toxic than the organic. Additionally, arsenic and inorganic arsenic are classified as the Group I carcinogen by International Agency for Research on Cancer. The maximum limits of inorganic arsenic in rice has been included in the “Sanitation Standards for Contaminants and Toxins in Food” announced by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In the past, inorganic arsenic could not be distinguished from organic arsenic due to the restriction of instruments. With the advance of science and technology, TFDA has established “Method of Test for Inorganic Arsenic in Edible Seaweed” and “Method of Test for Inorganic Arsenic in Aquatic Animals”. Apart from this, TFDA keeps developing “Method of Test for Arsenic and Inorganic Arsenic in Rice”. In order to verify the method, TFDA participated in proficiency tests held by famous international agencies and got excellent performance. These results demonstrate the good performance of the established method.
TFDA shows the outstanding detection technology after years of dedication. The authority will use this novel analytical method to detect total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in rice and continuously develop new analytical methods for food management to protect the public health.