My posts on rice and arsenic are some of the most popular on my blog. I noticed a new study came out yesterday registering concern about levels of arsenic found in brown rice syrup used in baby foods, rice milk, cereals bars and high energy foods used by athletes. The problem seems to have hotted up because manufacturers are using more brown rice syrup to replace the high fructose corn syrup that has been getting such negative press.
The US-based researchers concluded:
There are currently no US regulations applicable to As in food, but our findings suggest that the OBRS products we evaluated may introduce significant concentrations of Asi to an individual’s diet. Thus, we conclude that there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on As in food.
Read the abstract (ahead of print) here:
The only worry I have about this study is that it seems to concentrate on saying that ‘organic’ foods may not be safe. That seemed to be the thoughts of quite a few commenters on this story on Today Health:
I agree with the thoughts of one commenter who said:
Rice plants simply concentrate arsenic within its seeds. Arsenic is found naturally in the environment. Foods labelled “organic” have stopped using corn syrup for the healthier sounding brown rice syrup. However, there is very little data comparing the health benefits/detriments of these two sugars. I would suspect that either corn or rice syrup are both pretty similar, just that organic minded consumers have been swayed by negative publicity of corn syrup.
This doesn’t mean that organic foods are less healthy or a bad idea, it just means that rice has naturally high arsenic levels and maybe that’s not the best cornerstone of a baby’s diet.
They have it absolutely right there.
For more on this, check out my previous posts where you can read a series of three articles I wrote on the arsenic in rice issue: