Arsenic – an antique poison

Last updated: 16. October 2023

Arsen in Reis und sonstigen Lebensmitteln

Arsenic- the poisonous metalloid

Arsenic can be found in nature in a carbon compound and as an inorganic arsenic compound.

According to the GHS, dangerous substances labeling, arsenic has been characterized as „poisonous“ and also „very poisonous“.

Anyone who regularly comes in contact with arsenic can damage their skin and their blood corpuscles. The latter can lead to limbs dying off. It can also cause tumors.

Arsenic enters our food through water or soil containing it, and in the case of rice, accumulated. Arsenic is tasteless and odorless so it can not be immediately detected in products.

A sad record in relationship to arsenic has been set in Bangladesh. While drilling a well, arsenic was released from the stone layers and entered the drinking water. Since that time about 43,000 people have died from it every year. Already 16 years ago, the World Health organization called the situation in Bangladesh the „greatest mass poisoning in history“.

Arsenic in rice waffles

Rice waffles  have repeatedly been found to contain high levels of arsenic. Ökotest recently found arsenic residues in rice waffles. It wasn’t the first time. The consumer magazine had already found residues four years ago. In order to gain control over the problem, new maximum levels were set. Since January 2016 there are new maximum levels for rice products. Generally there is a limit of 0.3 mg/kg for rice products and 0.1 mg/kg for products primarily for children. Further details and how these values are determined, especially with regard to childrens’ food, can be found in the aktualisierten Stellungnahme 017/2015 des BfR.


analysis of arsenic in food

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