Did you hear the news about arsenic being found in rice?
Obviously, this is not good. Recently I read the article Arsenic in Your Food by Consumer Reports and it helped explain how my rice could be toxic.
What is arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral, but it isn’t a safe one! “It’s a carcinogen known to cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer in people and to increase risks of cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiencies, and type 2 diabetes.” – Consumer Reports
Why is it in rice?
For many, many years arsenic was used in agricultural products. Those products were banned in the 1980’s, but the ground is still contaminated. Rice is being planted in areas with high levels of arsenic in the soil. Since rice is grown in “flooded” fields, it soaks up the arsenic much easier than other types of crops.
Is it in all rice?
Arsenic levels are the highest in rice grown in the southern USA. This rice is being grown on fields that previously grew cotton and cotton fields used to be heavily hit with arsenic containing agricultural products. Rice is also grown in California and abroad, but rice from those locations contain lower levels of arsenic. Notice I didn’t say that rice is free from arsenic in those areas.
Arsenic has been found in regular rice and in processed rice products such as: cold & hot cereal, rice milk, rice cakes, and more. It is also present in organic rice. Bummer.
What am I doing about it?
First and foremost, I am not feeding Noah any rice cereal. My personal pediatrician’s office is recommending that parents avoid rice cereal and I’m going to heed that warning! Rice cereal has very little nutritional value. Noah isn’t missing out on anything.
I am not buying any brown rice. Brown rice is much better for you than white rice, but it is also higher in arsenic. White rice comes from the same plants as brown rice, but it has been “cleaned” more. Some of arsenic is removed in that “cleaning” process.
I am reading the labels on my white rice before I buy it. Since this appears to be a bigger issue with rice grown in southern USA, I am choosing to buy rice that is grown in California or abroad. Of course, there is no guarantee that foreign rice is 100% safe.
I am trying to space out my rice based meals. We tend to eat rice often. It is cheap. It is easy. There are lots and lots of yummy things you can eat on top of rice. I honestly don’t want to say goodbye to some of my favorite rice based dishes. Instead, I am trying to be smarter about my meal planning to limit how much rice we eat in a week.
Lastly, I probably should experiment with other types of grains. There are several other options out there: farro, couscous, quinoa, and barley. I don’t have much experience with those types of grains.
What are your thoughts on arsenic being found in rice? Have you made any changes in your diet?
This post is being linked to Your Green Resource.