Nutrition News: Study Results Show Arsenic Levels in Rice

Investigations by the FDA and Consumer Reports found alarmingly high amounts of arsenic in rice and rice products. What does this mean about the way your family eats?
brown rice

140403443

Brown rice spilled from glass container

Photo by: Alan Reinhart

Alan Reinhart

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.

Next Up

Nutrition News: Pink Slime

What’s your take on the food issue everyone’s talking about: pink slime?

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Nouveau fast-food franchises flaunt their healthy sides; coconut water claims get a reality check; rumors of kale's demise turn out to be greatly exaggerated -- and more.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

This week's Nutrition News Feed covers sugar, working out and all those vitamin drinks.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The World Health Organization doesn't sugarcoat its advice; fruits and vegetables feel the love -- even in school cafeterias; and food labels get ready for their makeover.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Vegetables save lives; baseball stadiums cater to the Whole Foods set; and scientists keep putting monkeys on wacky diets.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

Health Headlines about Red Wine, Antibiotics, and Milk. More healthy tips like these at Food Network.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Rappers delight in healthy eating; Alice Waters predicts a farmers markets bonanza; and scientists do the important work of building a healthier hot dog.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Michelle Obama stumps for kale and more, while the dairy industry shelves its Got Milk campaign; obesity rates for young kids nosedive; and researchers show why Tetris may be good for your waistline.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week’s news: Whole grains linked to heart health, getting kids in the kitchen, and Americans still overloading on salt

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The organic set has a told-you-so moment; the calories-in-calories-out theory loses cachet; and the veggie burger seizes the gourmet spotlight.

Related Pages