Arsenic levels were tested in 5,800 rice samples from 25 countries. The arsenic found in five servings of rice a week is 100 times the acceptable risk of cancer. What does the rice industry have to say about this? When the story first broke in the media that US rice had one of the highest levels of arsenic in the world, the USA Rice Federation said, “Enough nonsense about arsenic!” In the August 9, 2005 issue of the USA News Daily , his daily newsletter. The study was, in her opinion, “not only highly inaccurate, but also maliciously wrong”. One of the researchers replied, “By not addressing this issue [of arsenic] That has been ignored for decades. The US cotton belt rice industry is doing itself an injustice. “Had the problem been addressed in the past because arsenic is known to be a problem in paddy soils in the United States. Safe soils would have been identified and arsenic-poor arsenic rice varieties would have been developed.” Instead, arsenic-resistant varieties have been developed that build up excessive levels of arsenic without dying to themselves. In my video, I discuss the arsenic content of rice Which brands and sources of rice have the least amount of arsenic?.
However, not all rice producers have been that dismissive. After a subsequent exposé on consumer reports, a rice company explained “how it takes things into its own hands”. Lundberg Farms began testing hundreds of rice samples to share the results with the FDA. “We are committed to providing safe food,” said the CEO, “really listening to our consumers and being very open about this issue …” Lundberg Farms is not only reporting its findings to the FDA, but to everyone.
When you visit his website or go to 1:37 in mine VideoYou can see that it apparently kept its test promise on its brown rice. Lundberg Farms uses parts per million (ppm) instead of parts per billion (ppb) to make it look better than it is, but compared to the average U.S. brown rice content of 154 ppb, Lundberg does better. In fact, its aromatic brown rice, presumably its brown basmati and brown jasmine, averages 80 ppb below the national white rice level, as is apparently Lundberg’s red and black rice at 90 ppb. In fact, none of his samples reached the average US brown rice content.
According to consumer reports, most of the other brands are pretty much on par with the average arsenic in brown rice in the US, as you can see in my 2:15 pm report Videoincluding Uncle Ben’s and Walmart’s Great Value brand. However, Whole Foods performed worst with its 365-day long grain brown rice, about a third higher than these others and above the national average.
In the largest review to date, based on 5,800 rice samples from 25 countries, the highest total arsenic average was from the United States. The US studies were on average about twice as high as those of rice from Asia, with the high values in the USA being due to “the heavier ones” [historical] Use of arsenic-based pesticides. “But arsenic levels were not the same in the United States. Yes, U.S. rice contains twice as much arsenic as Asian rice on average, and almost all of the rice samples tested in New York State that were imported from India or Pakistan had an arsenic content of less than 95 percent of that of domestically produced rice. But, “[r]US grown ice showed the greatest reach … and the greatest number of outliers, “mostly due to where it was grown, as you can see at 3:01 in mine Video. There is significantly more arsenic in Texas and Arkansas than rice in California. California rice is similar to rice produced in the rest of the world. This is believed to be some of the data that led consumer reports to suggest that brown basmati from California, India or Pakistan might be among the safer types of rice. If the arsenic comes from pesticides, would organic rice have less than conventionally grown rice? No, because arsenic pesticides were banned about 30 years ago. It’s just that 30,000 tons of arsenic chemicals have already been dumped in cotton fields in the southern United States. “So it’s understandable that arsenic residues still linger in the environment” even if you don’t add an ounce of new pesticides. For this reason, the industry in the south specifically selects arsenic-resistant rice plant varieties. If only there were arsenic resistant people.
What about other brands of rice? That was the subject of Which rice has less arsenic: black, brown, red, white or game?.
Further background information can be found at:
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Kudos to Consumers Union, the wonderful organization that publishes consumer reports, for pioneering this and so many other topics.
Michael Greger, MD
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