Report claims infant rice cereal has six times more arsenic
Parents, check your pantries. A major warning about a staple food found with higher than normal levels of arsenic.
A report out Thursday from Healthy Babies Bright Futures claims toxic arsenic in rice cereal made for infants is six times higher than other cereals, such as oatmeal.
The group tested more than 100 types of cereals sold at stores around the country.
They say infant rice cereals made by Gerber, Beech-Nut, Biokinetics, Happy Baby, Earth’s Best and Healthy Times had six times more arsenic than non-rice cereals.
The report claims that arsenic in infant cereal poses a risk to the developing brain.
Ansje Miller with the center for environmental health says, “Arsenic is toxic in tiny in very tiny amounts, so we’re just asking why is it in baby cereals at such high levels. And parents can easily do something to avoid it – so at this point, just avoid rice cereals.”
Arsenic is naturally occurring in many foods, so the group wants the FDA to make rules for how much is acceptable for infant cereals.
We reached out to all of the cereal makers mentioned for comment Gerber responded, saying that they want to reassure parents that their rice cereals are safe.
Beech Nut sent the following statement:
At Beech-Nut Nutrition, our responsibility to provide safe, nutritious food for babies is our most important job. We want to reassure parents that we have rigorous testing protocols and strict standards in place to ensure we live up to that promise.
All of our currently available cereals meet the FDA recommendation for inorganic arsenic. We buy our rice from California, the rice-growing region with the lowest levels of arsenic, and we test every delivery of rice flour before we make our rice cereal as a standard practice. If the inorganic arsenic level is higher than FDA guidelines, we send it back.
In the meantime, pediatricians say feed your kids a variety of grains to limit exposure to arsenic.