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?
140403443

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Nutrition News: Pink Slime

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

Nutrition News: Nuts About Nuts, Calorie-Cutting Rice Hack, Kraft and Diet Group Part Ways

Find out why you should go nuts for nuts and how to reduce the calories in rice. Also, Kraft and a dietitians group end their partnership.

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

In this week's news: A buzzkill study related to red wine emerges; a documentary suggests not all calories are created equal; and food dyes appear in unexpected places (et tu, pickles?).

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Vending machines may soon have to dispense more than just candy bars; nutrition professionals say count kale in (again) for 2014; and a dietitian explains the secret to making realistic New Year's resolutions.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Peas get ready for their 15 minutes of fame; statins aren't a get-out-jail-free card; and food guilt is counter-productive (so have a cookie already).

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's nutrition news, berries benefit everything from your heart to your memory — and trans fats do the opposite.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Bean buffs have reason to rejoice; "plant-based protein" shapes up to be the other white meat; and vitamin D is back in the spotlight (make that the sunlight).

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's nutrition news: Skinny people may live longer; farmed salmon may be losing its Omega-3 bragging rights; and vitamin D is vital for body and mind.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Doctors embrace the food-as-medicine concept; chocolate is awesome for a whole new reason; and saturated fat (slowly) comes back into the fold.