Arsenic in Rice Cereal
The FDA has recently put out a warning advising parents about the increased amounts of arsenic in rice cereal commonly fed to infants. Increased arsenic intake has been linked to cancer later in life and with learning difficulties.
Recommendations from the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), according to the Harvard Business Journal:
"While iron-fortified cereals are still a recommended first food for babies at around 6 months of age (babies only need breast milk or formula until 4 to 6 months), rice cereal isn’t the only choice and doesn’t need to be the first choice. Oat, barley, and mixed-grain cereals can provide iron too.
It’s a good idea for toddlers to eat varied grains as well, not just rice — and for parents to be mindful of the rice (or rice syrup) toddlers may consume in “puffs” and other snacks marketed for them.
Pregnant women should be sure to vary their diet and eat other grains besides just rice.
To decrease the amount of arsenic in rice, cook it as you would cook pasta: cook rice in 6-10 parts of water to one part rice, and drain off the excess water. You may reduce some of the nutrient content, but cooking it this way can also decrease the arsenic content by 40% to 60%."
For more information, please visit the AAP website at healthychildren.org, and the FDA's resources at fda.gov.