Well-known rice products found in grocery stores all over the world can be harmful to young children. A new study has revealed excessive levels of a carcinogenic substance in some popular favorites and is issuing a warning to parents. Adults who are large consumers of rice and eat it more than seven times a week should also consider cutting down on their intake.
The study was conducted by the Swedish National Food Agency. Upon examining 102 rice products available on the market, in some of these researchers discovered high levels of arsenic, which is a known carcinogen.
The food safety organization reviewed its dietary recommendations on rice, advising that children should not eat rice or rice products such as rice porridge, rice noodles, or breakfast cereal made of puffed rice, such as Rice Crispies, more than four times a week. Children should completely avoid rice cakes.
Emma Halldin Ankarberg, a toxicologist at the NFA explains: “We already knew that rice contains arsenic. What we know now is that some products on the market contain fairly high levels of it. Among other things, we have now advised against children under the age of six eating rice cakes. For everyone else, rice cakes are fine in moderation, but it depends on the amount of rice products consumed overall”.
Those who consume a lot of rice, i.e. more than seven times a week, should cut down on their rice intake as they’re exposing themselves at a risk of ingesting a lot of arsenic.
The study results revealed that popular rice products, including Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Boots Baby organic rice cakes and Organix First Wholegrain Baby Rice, were some of those containing unsafe arsenic levels.
ABOUT ARSENIC AND RICE
Arsenic is a natural element which behaves like a metal. It is present in the environment both naturally and due to certain human activities. It has many different forms. This element is a known carcinogen which, if ingested in large quantities, can lead to tumors in the skin, lungs, bladder, as well as the liver, kidneys and prostate. Moreover, continual exposure to arsenic can also contribute to a number of other health issues including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, chronic cough, diabetes and neurological effects. Children’s especially are at great risk.
In the last few years, a lot of attention has been given to the presence of arsenic in baby rice and other rice products. The study also found that there were different levels of arsenic in rice depending on the variety, cultivation area, cultivation methods, and production methods – for example, whole grains generally contain more arsenic than refined rice.