Nutrition News: Study Results Show Arsenic Levels in Rice

by in Food News, October 1, 2012

brown rice
By now you’ve probably heard about the recent findings of FDA and Consumer Reports investigations. Testing discovered alarmingly high amount of arsenic in rice and rice products. Tainted foods included infant cereals and formula, breakfast cereals, brown rice and even rice milk.

What is Arsenic?
This naturally existing element can be found in the air, soil and water supply in varying amounts. Consumption over time has been linked to certain types of cancer and deficits in neurological development.

It’s difficult to assess just how much arsenic is too much. Furthermore, it’s not well understood just how long the body holds on it – so it’s unclear how much can accumulate in the system over time.

The Environmental Protection Agency deems small amount of arsenic safe for consumption but recent reports have found the amounts found in rice to be beyond this “safe” dose.

What to Do?
There’s much more work to be done to determine just how dangerous rice products can be. In the meantime, the FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other health organizations are calling for more research. In the meantime, many of these outfits are suggesting limiting rice intake, not excluding it.

A few tips to help modify your diet:

  • Mix it up – variety is important to everyone’s diet to get a wide array of nutrients.
  • Experiment with other grains like oats, wheat, corn and quinoa.
  • When preparing rice, rinse dry grains before cooking.
  • Read ingredient labels – check for rice and rice-derived products like, rice flour and brown rice syrup.
  • Get more ideas from the Environmental Working Group.

Bottom Line: This topic deserves (and it seems will get) more attention in coming months. Stay tuned for more from government testing and in the meantime, put some effort towards making small tweaks to your family’s meal plan.

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Comments (59)

  1. [...] news first. arsenic levels found in rice. quinoa it is! or millet, wheat berries..etc. arsenic is known to cause ‘certain types of [...]

  2. Mary Ellen says:

    I'd like to know about the arsenic levels in rice cakes, since I eat them several times a week….

  3. Rice is been consumed by the large number of peoples. It is one of the basic food. Arsenic is found in large amount in it which is very harmful to us. Some amount of it is safe to consume but large amount cause cancer in the body. Some amount of it body can manage but large amount causes h
    cancer very is harm to our body.

  4. Carey says:

    I'm sorry, but countries around the world have been eating rice for thousands of years in some places, and no health side-effects have been linked to it in all that time. I really want to know what has suddenly changed for people to say that it's bad for us to eat, is it the way the rice is being grown, or some type of processing that is introducing the arsenic to the rice? Because with all the studying that has been on rice itself for the past century, why is it just now making the news that is has these types of arsenic levels? What has changed?

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