Arsenic, once known as the “king of poisons,” is a naturally occurring element found worldwide at low levels in water, food, air, and soil. Human exposure to arsenic can occur through ingestion of unregulated drinking water and certain agricultural commodities, particularly rice.  In recent years, several studies by consumer advocacy groups have highlighted the presence of this toxic metal in a variety of food products.

On August 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a long-awaited guidance establishing an action level of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.  While the FDA action level is a good start, the United States still lags behind other nations in terms of setting limits for heavy metals in food.  Here are five facts to consider in regard to arsenic and the food supply. Continue Reading

Remember in school when the math teacher gave you a problem to solve, and how you felt when your answer matched the one in the back of the textbook? Didn’t it feel great knowing you solved the problem correctly?

Validating the answer to grade school math problems carries the same concept as validating analytical methods. When scientists validate an analytical method, they need to show that it correctly measures the metric they’re testing for. To effectively do so, first they need to identify a product with existing results for the test they’re running as a control. Then, once the results from the test come in, they can verify that their results match the known answer, just like in school when you could check if your answer matched the one in the back of the textbook. Continue Reading