Reader question… “I am wondering how you and your readers are dealing with the rice and arsenic problem. My husband and I have a baby and toddlers and we eat rice products and brown rice quite a bit because I always thought they were healthy. I’m wondering how concerned about this I should be and should we stop eating rice.” –Tiffani S.
You have probably already seen the Consumer Reports recommendation that babies eat no more than an average of one serving of infant rice cereal per day, and that their diet should include cereals made from wheat, oatmeal, or corn grits because these grains contain lower levels of inorganic arsenic.
Consumer Reports also raises concerns about ready-to-eat cereals and rice drinks, especially for young children and pregnant women, and has called for limiting brown rice consumption to less than a cup of cooked rice for children and about one and a half cups of cooked rice for adults PER WEEK.
As you probably know, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is “not recommending changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products.” Their advice is to “eat a balanced diet including a wide variety of grains, not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food.” Isn’t this the same answer they give to every food scare question?
I think most people find themselves with the same question of what to do. Brown rice was a staple in our diet too, and I’m not happy to find out that the brand of rice we were eating was grown in the South where the arsenic levels are the highest. Fortunately, the way we always thoroughly rinsed the rice and cooked it in plenty of water (like pasta) MAY have reduced the arsenic levels by almost forty-five percent, but the experts can’t agree on this. If you continue to eat rice, it would probably be a good idea to follow the Consumer Reports recommendation to rinse the rice well and cook it in a large quantity of water.
Until more information is available, I don’t think we will be eating as much rice. We like barley and quinoa, and now would probably be a good time for us to become better acquainted with a few other rice alternatives.
How are YOU dealing with this situation?