April 24, 2018

Consumers Union Advice About Arsenic in Rice

Reports about arsenic levels in rice are troubling to many people, especially families with young children and those who have celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten. If you’re wondering how to limit your exposure, Consumers Union, the policy and action division of Consumer Reports, has specific recommendations.

Brown riceThese recommendations first appeared in a November 2012 Consumer Reports article about arsenic levels in rice and rice products commonly found on grocery store shelves. The report prompted calls to action by members of Congress and investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which last week released data about its probe. The agency concluded that these products do not pose a short-term health risk, that a study of exposure over the long term is necessary, and advised consumers to eat at a varied and balanced diet. Consumers Union has more specific advice.

“Our review of the FDA’s results shows they are comparable to those in our 2012 study, and in some cases the levels found by the agency were higher than ours. This was true in the case of rice beverages used as milk replacement, which underscores Consumer Reports’ advice that children under the age of 5 should not have rice drinks as part of a daily diet. Rice drinks are not a good nutritional substitute for cow’s milk, and in the United Kingdom, children younger than 4.5 years are advised against having rice milk because of arsenic concerns,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports, in a statement.

The organization’s recommendations on limiting exposure to arsenic levels in rice are as follows. For children:  1/4 cup serving infant cereal per day; 1/4 cup serving hot cereal 1.75 time per week; 1 cup ready to eat cereal 1.5 times per week; 1/4 cup serving of rice 1.25 times per week; 2 oz serving of rice pasta 1.5 times per week; 8-9 rice crackers per day; 1-3 rice cakes per week. Rice milk is not recommended for children under 5.

For adults, 1/4 cup serving hot cereal 2.5 times per week; 1 cup ready to eat cereal 3 times per week; 1/4 cup serving of rice 2 times per week; 2 oz serving of rice pasta 3 times per week; 16-18 rice crackers per day; 1-3 rice cakes 2.3  times per week; 1/2 cup rice drink per day.

 

 

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