October 7, 2020

Baked Potatoes and Cooked Rice: Why Are They Risky?

Did you know that baked potatoes and cooked rice are potentially risky foods? Those foods seem so innocuous, but they both can cause serious illness if not refrigerated promptly and reheated properly before eating. Both of these foods are called TCS, which stands for time/temperature control for safety. For baked potatoes, the risk is botulism, but only if the potato is cooked and cooled while completely wrapped in aluminum foil. The foil can create a low oxygen environment where the pathogen can grow and produce the toxin. Potatoes are a low acid food, which puts them in the high risk category for botulism poisoning. In fact, a botulism outbreak linked to home canned potato salad served at a church picnic in 2015 sickened 21 people. One woman died. When you cook a baked potato … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Infant Rice Cereal Arsenic Tests; Improvement Noted

The FDA is releasing information about their testing of infant rice cereal arsenic results that show manufacturers have made "significant progress" reducing levels of inorganic arsenic, the most dangerous type, in their products. There are two types of arsenic: organic arsenic, which is mainly found in seafood and may not be toxic to humans, and inorganic arsenic, which is highly toxic. Organic arsenic bonds with carbon, but inorganic arsenic bonds with a non-carbon element such as oxygen. Most people consume inorganic arsenic from drinking water and foods. A study conducted in 2017 found that there is six times more arsenic in infant rice cereal than other types of cereals. Rice can contain arsenic because of how it is grown. The rice plants are planted in old cotton fields in … [Read more...]

New Study Finds Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal

A new study conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) has found that there is six times more arsenic in infant rice cereal than in other types of cereals. Arsenic is a heavy metal that can cause health problems including cancer, neurological problems, and reduced IQ. Rice contains more arsenic than other grains because of the way it grows. Rice paddies are flooded with water, which aids the absorption of the heavy metal through the roots of the plant. Rice plants absorb ten times more arsenic than other grains while they grow. And rice is grown where arsenic is abundant in the soil. The grain is often planted in old cotton fields in the southern United States, where arsenic pesticides were sprayed for years. Testing by Consumer Reports in 2012 first brought this issue to … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports on Arsenic in Rice

Consumer Reports has released new data and guidelines for consumers about arsenic in rice. That organization's 2012 report found measurable levels of the heavy  metal in almost all of the products they tested. People who are allergic to wheat, celiac patients, and those sensitive to gluten eat more rice and rice products. Arsenic is in two forms: inorganic and organic. Inorganic is more toxic and is classified as a carcinogen. It is naturally occurring, but humans put more arsenic into the environment through pesticides and poultry fertilizer. Chickens are fed organic arsenic to promote weight gain and growth on less food. The FDA stopped approval of most food animal drugs containing arsenic last year, but not all. The heavy metal stays in the soil for decades. And when animals eat … [Read more...]

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. These 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 … [Read more...]

FDA: Arsenic In Rice Doesn’t Pose Short-Term Health Issue

Arsenic levels in rice and rice products do not pose a short-term health risk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded after studying thousands of samples.  But the health effects of long-term exposure to the low amounts of arsenic in these products is unknown, and that will be the agency's next area of  focus. There are two types of arsenic, organic and inorganic. Both occur naturally in the environment and are found in water, air, soil and foods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), organic arsenic is found mainly in fish and shellfish.  Inorganic arsenic, the more toxic type, is normally found in soil, sediment, and groundwater. From these sources, inorganic arsenic can make its way on to foods including rice. The FDA analyzed more … [Read more...]

Three Members of Congress Introduce Bill to Limit Arsenic in Rice

Three members of Congress have introduced a bill to limit the levels of arsenic in rice. Consumer Reports released a report that will appear in the November 2012 issue of their magazine stating that their tests have found rice and foods made from rice, including infant rice cereals, have the most toxic form of arsenic. No federal limits exist for arsenic in most foods. Make sure to look at the Consumer Reports story carefully; at the end they have a chart that lists the rice and rice products they tested and arsenic levels found. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Nita Lowey (D-NY) have introduced the R.I.C.E. Act (Reducing food based Inorganic and organic Compounds Exposure Act). It requires the FDA to set a "maximum permissible level of arsenic in rice and … [Read more...]

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