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Arsenic in Brown Rice Syrup: How To Eat Rice Safely

  • Arsenic in Organic Brown Rice Syrup and Rice. How To Eat Rice Safely.
    By Anna Hackman
    Green Talk, February 23, 2012
    Straight to the Source

Just to recap, in my previous article, I discussed the recent Dartmouth study which revealed that high levels of inorganic arsenic were present in organic brown rice syrup ("OBRS.")   The team focused its study on  toddler formulas, energy performance products, and cereal bars. The current way of farming rice in soil which contains man-made, cancer causing arsenic is the problem.  But we are here now.  Now what? What Did the Rice Companies Say?

I happen to use organic brown rice syrup ("OBRS") and couldn't believe what I was reading.  Lundberg is the maker of OBRS.  Their public relations' firm sent me the following response:

"As we look into the findings of the study released on 2/16/12, we will continue to investigate, evaluate and acknowledge the research while continuing to place the consumer's health at the forefront of our concerns. It is important to remember that U.S. grown rice has been a wholesome source of nutrition, both here at home and internationally, for over 300 years. Since arsenic is naturally occurring, trace levels are present in all rice, and a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains and seafood, as well as presence in the air and drinking water."

They also indicated that in the past,  they didn't test their rice.  Since my email exchange with their PR firm, Lundberg posted on their website their course of investigatory action. In addition, the Dartmouth study found  two of Nature's One's toddler formula products contain high levels of arsenic.  Both products contain OBRS.   The Company stated that their brown rice syrup is third party tested. The results found "undetectable amounts of arsenic at laboratory testing limit."  What the heck does this mean? But here is the rub. The issue at hand is inorganic arsenic which is man induced from pesticides, contaminated water, and other factors.  Why haven't the rice food companies tested their rice prior to the Dartmouth study?   Can they honestly say they didn't know about Professor Meharg's 2007 study which spelled out the dangers of arsenic and rice.  (FYI, Dr. Andrew Meharg is a bio-geo-chemist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  He is an expert on arsenic in the environment.)  In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority stated in their article, "Scientific Opinion on Arsenic," young children under the age of three are most exposed to inorganic arsenic.  They further stated that their exposure is 2 to 3 times greater than an adult.  Oops, they didn't see that article either?

Am I the only one here shaking my head?  For at least five years, the rice industry knew there was a problem. The EU and the FDA knew there was a problem.  Why now are the companies panicking? 

Sign Anna's petition to the EU and FDA at

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