Rice advisory

This article was originally published in January 2015

Consumer Reports scientists have released new guidelines to minimize exposure to arsenic in rice foods. The guidelines are particularly significant for pregnant and nursing women, and children.

Scientists studied data released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 on the inorganic arsenic content of 656 processed foods made from rice. They found rice cereal and rice pasta may have much more inorganic arsenic — a carcinogen — than 2012 data showed.

According to new tests, just one serving of either rice cereal or rice pasta could mean kids consume more than the maximum amount of rice that Consumers Union scientists recommend they should have in a week. Rice cakes supply close to a child’s weekly limit in one serving. Children younger than 5 shouldn’t consume rice drinks at all. (See the new rules about weekly servings at ConsumerReports.org.)

The FDA also is encouraging parents to “consider options other than rice cereal for a child’s first solid food.”

California basmati and sushi rice, such as from the Lundberg brand, consistently are lower in arsenic.

There is no federal limit for arsenic in food but the FDA has proposed an “action level” for arsenic in juice.

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