Disturbing Levels of Arsenic Found in Rice

Staff Writer
New reports suggest limiting the consumption of rice for children and adults

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

If you or your children have a diet that's heavy in rice, you may want to consider reducing the amount of it that you're eating. New reports from the Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports have found "worrisome levels" of arsenic in rice products. The reports have found an average of 3.5 to 6.7 micrograms of inorganic arsenic, which is the most harmful to humans, in rice and rice products.

Consumer Reports goes on to state that brown rice has been found to carry higher levels of arsenic because it still has the outer bran, causing it to retain higher levels of the chemical. Also in the report, rice from the states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas has been found to have higher levels of arsenic than rice from California, India, and Thailand.

While there has been no conclusive evidence showing what arsenic content in food means or what its long-term effects are, doctors suggest limiting the amount of rice you eat. The FDA is still conducting research and gathering evidence to see what these arsenic levels mean and should release its findings near the end of the year.

In order to reduce your arsenic exposure, it is recommended to limit children to ¼ cup of uncooked rice per week and ½ cup for adults. But if you are unwilling to cut your rice consumption, follow these tips to help reduce your exposure…

  • Avoid rice grown in any Southern U.S. states
  • Rinse rice thoroughly before cooking
  • Cook rice with 6 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice and pour out remaining water before serving (works best with brown rice)
  • Limit the consumption of other products found to have arsenic, such as grape and apple juice

If you believe you have been exposed to a large amount of arsenic and have any of the following symptoms, please contact emergency health care personnel immediately:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cardiac problems
  • Dehydration
  • Skin discoloring or bumps
  • Delerium 

The Daily Meal will continue to research the amount of arsenic levels found in food, but in the meantime, the Cook editors suggest trying these grain-alternative recipes.

 Gazpacho-Style Wheat Berry Salad Recipe

Chewy wheat berries and refreshing cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes are the perfect combination in this refreshing first course.






Farro with Sweet Peas and Ricotta Recipe

In this recipe, this fashionable grain is served with crunchy sweet peas and creamy ricotta. The fresh herbs and lemony vinaigrette further brighten the flavors, making this dish as light and yummy as any whole grain could possibly taste.






Apricot Cilantro Quinoa Pilaf Recipe

Dried apricots sprinkle this quinoa pilaf with chewy, sweet fruit flavors, which balance crunchy, toasted pumpkin seeds. Cilantro and lemon juice brighten this hearty, healthy grain salad.







Brian Baker is a Junior Writer for The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @AKAfitsy