Consumer Reports has done some research on arsenic in rice, and the mag has discovered that the dangerous substance may warrant a warning for people to limit their rice intake to reduce exposure to arsenic.
Arsenic in rice is not an issue related to adulteration per se, as while arsenic can be dangerous, it is also present in many foods naturally. Safe levels of arsenic per part vary based on a number of factors, but Consumer Reports contends that the issue of arsenic in rice should be examined to make the public more aware of potentially dangerous levels when rice is consumed frequently.
Consumer Reports found what it deems “worrisome levels of arsenic” in many of the more than 60 varieties of rice tested in the research, with rice from certain regions found to have more arsenic than that grown in others.
All told, it was not uncommon to find more than five times what is considered safe levels for drinking water of arsenic in the rice tested. In their recommendations, Consumer Reports suggested limiting rice intake until the Food Drug Administration reviews safe levels of arsenic in rice, as well as considering near complete cessation of serving rice to kids under five.
Michael Hansen, senior scientist on the Consumer Reports study said:
“We’re not saying never do that … We’re saying it should be very infrequent.”
After the arsenic in rice report began to alarm consumers, Dr. James R. Coughlin of Coughlin & Associates, an independent toxicology consulting company working with industry group the USA Rice Federation, said:
“These are very, very low levels [of arsenic in rice] … Rice is a safe and nutritious food and in fact people who consume rice more frequently in their diets are actually healthier than other Americans.”
Does the arsenic in rice report make you wary of the safety of seemingly commonplace foods?