Watch out for Arsenic in your Rice!

I just heard about a concern for arsenic in rice.  This is a major problem, especially given the number of food items with rice as a major ingredient.  Think about cereals and baby food which you may be giving to your children on a daily basis.

Right now there are no conclusions that the arsenic levels are directly causing specific problems, and the FDA is actively evaluating this risk and Consumer Reports have issued a warning.  My local NPR station has some tips for consumers to limit their risk:

  1. Pay Attention to where the rice is grown:  Apparently the southeastern US has more arsenic in the soil, therefor growing rice with higher arsenic levels. Jasmine and Basmati had lower levels compared to other white rices.
  2. Use more White Rice:  The processing of rice to make white rice reduces the amount of arsenic, by a bit.
  3. Cook with more Water: the extra water will keep some of the arsenic
  4. Better yet, switch to other grains like quinoa, oats, millet, or amarynth.
  5. Check foods you give to small children, especially food for babies ages 4 months to 1 year.  Also check for brown rice syrup which is used as a sweetener.

If you want to learn more about arsenic, its toxicity and how it effects the human body, read the Agency For Toxic Substance and Disease Registry public health statement here.

Boiled white rice

Boiled white rice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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