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Brown rice

Toxic, cancer-causing arsenic found in rice products -- even organic rice milk

Monday, September 09, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: brown rice, arsenic, food contamination

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(NaturalNews) As a follow-up to an investigation it conducted earlier in the year on arsenic levels in popular fruit juices (http://www.consumerreports.org), the consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports has released a new report about arsenic levels in rice and rice products, the findings of which may come as a surprise to many. It turns out that virtually every rice product on the market today contains detectable levels of toxic arsenic, including many "all-natural" and organic rice products.

After conducting tests on more than 200 samples of rice products, which included dry rice, infant cereals, hot cereals, ready-to-eat cereals, rice cakes and crackers, rice flour, rice drinks, rice syrup, and rice vinegar, Consumer Reports investigators found that every single sample had detectable levels of both organic and inorganic arsenic, the latter of which has been shown to cause cancer. In most cases, the worst offenders were rice products made from rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas.

"In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms," says Consumer Reports. "We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern."

Brown rice was typically found to have higher arsenic levels than white rice, and people who eat rice were determined to have arsenic levels that were about 44 percent higher compared to people who do not eat rice. Sadly, some of the worst arsenic offenders in the Consumer Reports investigation include Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown Rice, Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps, Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli, and DeBoles Rice Spirals.

Other surprising rice products on the arsenic list include several varieties of Lundberg Family Farms brand rice, Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Infant Cereal, several varieties of Bob's Red Mill rice products, Arrowhead Mills Organic Sweetened Rice Flakes, and Organic Rice Dream Classic Original Rice Drink, as well as many of the usual suspects in the conventional and mainstream rice market.

Following the release of the report, Lundberg Family Farms CEO Grant Lundberg indicated that his company will begin testing more than 200 samples of its own rice products, and voluntarily share the results with FDA scientists.

You can view a complete breakdown of the Consumer Reports test results here:

FDA refuses to set guidelines for arsenic levels in food

Unlike with water, arsenic levels in food are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which claims there is inadequate science proving a need for arsenic regulation. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already declared that there is no "safe" level of exposure to inorganic arsenic, based on the science, and that the jury is still out on whether organic arsenic forms such as dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) are safe.

"We already know that high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water result in the highest known toxic substance disease risks from any environmental exposure," says Dr. Allan Smith, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. "So we should not be arguing to wait for years until we have results of epidemiologic studies at lower arsenic intake, such as from rice consumption, to take action."

Consumer Reports is advising the public to be conscious about rice intake, especially in young children. The group is recommending that parents limit their children's consumption of rice products to the equivalent of only about one-quarter-cup of uncooked rice per week. Adults are advised to consume only about a half-cup of uncooked rice per week.

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