Many popular rice products contain “worrisome levels” of arsenic, a substance that is a known carcinogen, Consumer Reports has found in a new study.
The magazine’s report is prompting consumer groups to increase pressure on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set more stringent limits on how much arsenic can be present in rice and other foods.
The Consumer Reports study comes on the heels of a January investigation in which the magazine found troubling levels of arsenic in apple and grape juice products. The results led the magazine to study some 200 samples of a host of rice products, many of them popular brands found on grocery store shelves, including organic ones and those aimed at the growing “gluten free” market.
“The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. 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. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike.”
Besides being a known carcinogen, inorganic arsenic also is believed to cause health problems in children later in life, the Consumer Reports study states.
Health dangers were also discovered by the government's Food Safety and Inspection Service in a certain brand of frozen meat products in July, prompting a recall of the food.