Does your favorite rice product contain arsenic?

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The Food & Drug Administration is announcing a proposal that would limit the amount of arsenic found in rice — this after a report revealed inorganic arsenic levels in 60 popular rice products.

Consumer reports, a watchdog group, tested 200 samples of various varieties of rice products, including Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and Gerber infant cereal. Most contained arsenic, which is a known human carcinogen that is linked to causing cancer. Brown rice, in particular, by brands found in Whole Foods and Walmart, contained significant levels, according to Reuters.

In light of the findings, Consumer Reports recommend Americans limit their intake of rice — no more than one serving of infant rice cereal per day for babies,
excluding rice milk from the daily diets of children under the age of 5,
and limiting rice to two servings per week for adults.  The group also urged U.S. regulators to ban arsenic-containing drugs and pesticides in crops and livestock.

“The goal of our report is to inform — not alarm — consumers about the importance of reducing arsenic exposure,” said Urvashi Rangan, director of safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports. “The silver lining in all of this is that it is possible to get a better handle on this.”

The FDA’s own testing turned up similar results, according to the organization. It is now announcing a plan aimed at lowering arsenic levels in rice products, but stopped short of advising against consuming it.

“It’s a priority for us to complete the analysis to decide what levels to set and what other steps to take,” Mike Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said to the Washington Post. “We’re not prepared, based on preliminary data, to advise people to change their eating patterns.”


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