Rice is a commonly consumed food staple for many Asian and Pacific cultures; thus nutrient enrichment of rice has the potential to increase nutrient intakes for these populations. The objective of this study was to determine the levels of enrichment nutrients (thiamin, niacin, iron, and folic acid) in white rice found in Guam, Saipan (CNMI), and Oahu (Hawaii). The proportion of white rice that was labeled enriched varied by type, bag size, and location. Most long-grain rice was labeled enriched, while most medium-grain rice was not. Bags of either type weighing over 10 pounds were seldom labeled enriched in Hawaii or Saipan. Samples of various types of rice were collected on these three islands (n=19, 12 of which were labeled enriched) and analyzed for their content of the enrichment nutrients. Rice that was labeled enriched in Hawaii and Guam seldom met the minimum enrichment standards for the US. For comparison, three samples of enriched rice from California were also analyzed, and all met the enrichment standards. Nutritionists who are planning or evaluating the diets of these Pacific island populations cannot assume that rice is enriched.
Keywords: white rice, enrichment, Pacific islands