Wednesday, September 26, 2012


. I notice heavy traffic on my old blog post titled "Can Rice be Contaminated?" (April 10, 2011). No wonder, there has suddenly been a flurry of news reports on arsenic in rice.

It turns out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has known about this possible problem for decades, has suddenly decided to look into it a bit more. Consumer Reports has done its own testing and called for Federal standards for how much arsenic to allow in this popular food.

I wouldn't worry if you just eat rice or rice-based foods (such as rice cereals) once in a while. Certain ethnic groups who eat rice every day have more reason to be concerned. So do mothers of young children - and, in some cases, of older ones. My New York-based son told me a couple of days ago that for health and dietary reason he has started taking his own lunch to work every day instead of buying fattening fast food. That lunch reportedly consists of chicken breast, broccoli - and, yes, - of rice (which he believes to be best because he buys organic rice at Whole Foods). Oh..oh

So here's a bit more information on the issue than I provide in my earlier post (which also covered radiation in rice - an issue in Japan last year). But my book - The Safe Food Handbook (section on Grains, Legumes and Nuts) contains much more. This was a topic I really got into when I wrote it, and contacted leading researchers all over the world. Believe me, a lot of excellent work has been done on arsenic in rice for a long time.

You may not be able to avoid arsenic in rice completely (or, in your drinking water), but if you are a heavy rice eater, you can reduce your chances of getting too much of it by checking where the rice you buy has been grown. Rice from certain parts of the world - and certain parts of the U.S. - is likely to contain higher levels of arsenic than from other areas.

No, organic growing conditions do not guarantee that rice will be free of arsenic.

Oh, and unfortunately, studies show that brown rice - which has higher levels of bran and germ than white rice - is also likely to have higher levels of arsenic.

To your good health,

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