Consumer Reports recently released a review of arsenic levels in 200 every day foods, including rice and rice products such as Rice Krispies cereal. Earlier this year, they also reported on arsenic levels in apple and grape juices.
Arsenic, a chemical element in the environment, is a known carcinogen and is found in two forms, inorganic (of most concern) and organic. Trouble is, arsenicnaturally, and sometimes unnaturally, occurs in soils and waters in which foods are grown. While found in fruits, juices, vegetables, and seafood, rice in particular absorbs arsenic more readily from soil or water than other plants.
How can you reduce your exposure to dietary arsenic? The FDA is weighing in and suggesting not changing dietary intake of rice. However, they do support a balanced diet so that consumers do not suffer consequences of eating too much of a particular food. On the other hand, Consumer Reports suggests taking a few measures to reduce your risk of arsenic exposure. First, test your drinking water or find out your city’s water levels and find alternative drinking and cooking water if necessary. Second, rinse raw rice thoroughly and cook rice in 6 parts water to 1 part rice, draining after it is cooked. Third, clean vegetables thoroughly and limit your children’s juice consumption. Last, eat other grains such as oats, quinoa, millet and amaranth, while limiting rice consumption to one and a quarter servings per week for children and two servings per week for adults. Further, they recommend just one serving per day of infant cereal for babies.
Consumer Reports and the FDA want to inform consumers of their possible risks and to offer research-based information. The FDA will release further information, based on their study of 1200 samples of rice and rice products in the U.S. marketplace later this year. The FDA, Consumer Reports, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry offer further information.