Many people believe that rice candies, which are really popular with kids, are healthy. The truth is quite the contrary. A new study found that these products are loaded with dangerous levels of a carcinogenic substance.
The Swedish National Food Agency carried out the study.
After examining 102 rice products available on the market, in some of these the researchers found presence of high levels of carcinogenic arsenic. 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 be completely avoided. Rice cakes contain arsenic. This is the reason why these should not be given to children under the age of six.
Emma Halldin Ankarberg, a toxicologist at the Swedish National Food Agency, said: “Many children eat rice cakes as a snack, but unfortunately we must advise against this. Other countries are also giving this advice.” She also added: “For everyone else, rice cakes are ok in moderation, but it depends on the amount of rice products consumed overall.”
Those who eat rice more than seven times a week, should reduce their rice intake because they are 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 Organic First Wholegrain Baby Rice, were among the products with unsafe arsenic levels.
More about arsenic and rice
Arsenic is a known carcinogen which can lead to tumors in the skin, lungs, bladder, as well as the liver, kidneys and prostate. Chronic exposure to arsenic can also lead to a number of other health issues including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, chronic cough, diabetes and neurological effects. Children are particularly at risk.
A lot of attention has been given to the presence of arsenic in baby rice and rice products. It was 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 consist more arsenic than refined rice.