Consumer Reports: Arsenic In Your Food

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(Memphis) Consumer Reports found levels of the deadly toxin arsenic in many brands of both white and brown rice.

The report is concerning, particularly with half of the country’s rice production coming from Arkansas.

Consumer Reports tested 200 samples of more than 60 products on store shelves made with rice and found what they call “worrisome” levels of arsenic.

The Food and Drug Administration is in the middle of conducting tests of its own and says right now there no evidence to suggest rice is unsafe to eat.

That’s not enough for one Memphis grandmother who says her three-year-old granddaughter likes to eat white rice for breakfast.

“If there is anything to it, I will probably not give it to her,” said Lavonne Shaw.

Consumer Reports says the problem now, is there are no federal standards for how much arsenic is allowed in food.

Consumer Reports recommends children under five not be given rice drinks on a daily basis.

They say adults shouldn’t stop eating rice, but should eat a balance diet that includes other grains.

“I think with adults it’s about getting a variety. The barley, the oatmeal, plus there is things like koos, koose. And then you can also get grains with pasta and then cereals. You can always get a variety of grains that way,” said Baptist Hospital dietician Christy Fernandez.

Arsenic is naturally present in water where rice is grown, but can also be found in pesticides and insecticides.

Studies show it can cause cancer in humans.

Consumer reports says rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas generally had higher levels of arsenic.

To find out where your rice comes from simple call the toll free number on the back of the package.

The FDA doesn’t expect to complete its study on rice until the end of the year.