Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the villi of the small intestine causing abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or bad absorption due to gluten intolerance. The only treatment for this disease consists of a lifelong gluten free diet; this is, celiac people cannot consume products containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye, but they can use rice and corn. Thus, rice flour is mainly used for the manufacturing of the basic products of this population. Unfortunately, rice can contain high contents of total (t-As) and inorganic (i-As) arsenic. The current study demonstrated that products for celiac children with a high percentage of rice contained high concentrations of arsenic (256 and 128 μg kg−1). The daily intake of i-As ranged from 0.61 to 0.78 μg kg−1 body weight (bw) in children up to 5 y of age; these values were below the maximum value established by the EFSA Panel (8.0 μg kg−1 bw per day), but it should be considered typical of populations with a high exposure to this pollutant. Finally, legislation is needed to improve the labeling of these special rice-based foods for celiac children; label should include information about percentage, geographical origin, and cultivar of the used rice.
Companies manufacturing foods for celiac children should be aware that high iAs have been found and ask their rice suppliers to provide them with the safest rice (lowest i-As possible) for manufacturing of these special foods. Besides, manufacturers should include all available information on rice on the labels of their products.