Abstract: Rice can easily accumulate arsenic (As) into its grain and is known to be the highest As-containing cereal. In addition, the As burden in rice may increase during its processing (such as when cooking using As-polluted water). The health risk posed by the presence of As in cooked rice depends on its release from the matrix along the digestive system (bioaccessibility). Two types of white polished long-grain rice, namely, nonparboiled and parboiled (total As: 202 and 190 μg As kg−1, respectively), were cooked in excess of water with different levels of As (0, 10, 47, 222, and 450 μg As L−1). The bioaccessibility of As from these cooked rice batches was evaluated with an in vitro dynamic digestion process. Rice cooked with water containing 0 and 10 μg As L−1 showed lower As concentrations than the raw (uncooked) rice. However, cooking water with relatively high As content (≥47 μg As L−1) significantly increased the As concentration in the cooked rice up to 8- and 9-fold for the nonparboiled and parboiled rice, respectively. Parboiled rice, which is most widely consumed in South Asia, showed a higher percentage of As bioaccessibility (59% to 99%) than nonparboiled rice (36% to 69%) and most of the As bioaccessible in the cooked rice (80% to 99%) was released easily during the first 2 h of digestion. The estimation of the As intake through cooked rice based on the As bioaccessibility highlights that a few grams of cooked rice (less than 25 g dry weight per day) cooked with highly As contaminated water is equivalent to the amount of As from 2 L water containing the maximum permissible limit (10 μg As L−1).
Practical Application: Studies on As bioaccessibility are needed for determining human As intake from rice for use in accurate risk assessments to establish updated legislation regarding maximum level of As in food. High As bioaccessibility from parboiled rice (consumed by the majority of the people in South Asia), and the findings of high As levels in discarded rice gruel (fed to livestock), has implications for human and animal health.