Although many believe that rice candies, which are really popular with kids, are healthy, the truth is quite the contrary. According to a new study, these products are loaded with dangerous levels of a carcinogenic substance. The study was carried out by the Swedish National Food Agency. Upon examining 102 rice products available on the market, in some of these researchers discovered high levels of arsenic, which is a known carcinogen.
Taking the study results into consideration, the food safety organization revised its dietary recommendations on rice. Rice or rice products such as rice porridge, rice noodles, or breakfast cereal made of puffed rice like (Rice Crispies, for instance) should not be consumed by children more than four times a week. Rice cakes contain the most arsenic, which is why these shouldn’t be given to children under the age of six.
In the words of Emma Halldin Ankarberg, toxicologist at the Swedish National Food Agency, “Many children eat rice cakes as a snack, but unfortunately we must advise against this. Other countries are also giving this advice.”
“For everyone else, rice cakes are ok in moderation, but it depends on the amount of rice products consumed overall,” she added.
Those who consume a lot of rice, i.e. more than seven times a week, should cut down on their rice intake as they’re exposing themselves at a risk of ingesting a lot of arsenic.
The study results revealed that popular rice products, including Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Boots Baby organic rice cakes and Organix First Wholegrain Baby Rice, were some of those containing unsafe arsenic levels.
ABOUT ARSENIC AND RICE
Arsenic naturally appears in the soil and bedrock and is absorbed by plants. However, rice seems to be especially open to absorbing and storing high levels of arsenic. This element is a known carcinogen which, if ingested in large quantities, can lead to tumors in the skin, lungs, bladder, as well as the liver, kidneys and prostate. Moreover, continual exposure to arsenic can also contribute to a number of other health issues including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, chronic cough, diabetes and neurological effects. Children are particularly at risk.
Recently, a lot of attention has been given to the presence of arsenic in baby rice and rice products. The study also found that there were different levels of arsenic in rice depending on the variety, cultivation area, cultivation methods, and production methods – for example, whole grains generally contain more arsenic than refined rice.