You change your diet to eat healthy and next thing you know there’s arsenic in your brown rice.
I don’t know about you, but I am often wary when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tells you not to worry about the low level of toxicity in our food.
Who wants to test that theory?
The Good News/Bad News
The FDA released figures from tests for arsenic in more than 1,300 samples of rice and rice products.
The following are a few of the test results.
- The highest average levels of arsenic was in brown rice
- Rice wine held the lowest levels
- Instant rice was at the low end
The good news?
According to the FDA, levels are too low to cause concern for immediate or short-term effects.
The bad news?
They have no idea about long-term effects.
Arsenic is a natural element in soil, rocks, and water. It is also in plants and animals.
Arsenic is usually part of a chemical compound (is that groaning I hear at the thought of chemistry?)
- Inorganic arsenic is the most common and has been linked to cancer
- Organic arsenic compounds combine carbon and other atoms – and is not believed to be linked to cancer
So, inorganic is the form causing concern.
The FDA testing comes on the heels of a couple of Consumer Reports’ articles, including:
- Arsenic in Your Juice, which found 10 percent of tested juices (apple and grape) had inorganic arsenic above federal drinking water standards
- Arsenic in Your Food, which introduced the issue with rice and rice products
I love this response in the last article to the USA Rice Federation’s statement that arsenic is “a naturally occurring element in soil and water” and “all plants take up arsenic.”
But “natural” does not equal safe.
“Arsenic in Your Foods,” Consumer Reports Magazine, November 2012
Reminds me of another famous quote ~
“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?”
What To Do?
I suppose the answer to that question depends on you.
- The FDA is planning a comprehensive risk assessment for long-term effects of arsenic in rice
- In the meantime, the FDA recommends varying your grains; and
- Consider alternatives for your infant’s first solid food (that is often rice cereal)
Or you could choose not to jump off that bridge at all. What do you think?
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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.