Does the arsenic found in rice products threaten the he alth of your children? Experts speak out.
Some experts have called the amounts of inorganic arsenic in infant formula such as formula and cereals “atrocious”. Especially since rice cereal is often the first introduced into the baby's diet, in addition to milk.
“It’s worrying,” says Nathalie Jobin, nutritionist at Extenso, the nutrition reference center at the Université de Montréal. Given the fragility of the digestive and immune systems of young children, I would tend to recommend varying the types of cereal. » Oats, barley, wheat or spelled are alternatives.
“In young children, the organs used to eliminate arsenic are not as effective as in adults,” explains Sébastien Sauvé, professor specializing in environmental chemistry at the University of Montreal. A baby eats less than an adult, but in proportion to its weight, the exposure to arsenic is much greater. Regarding arsenic, "no rice-based cereal should be recommended as 'he althy' for adults at this time, let alone for children,"he believes.
Other points of view
Not everyone has such a strong opinion, however. Pending further studies, scientists from Consumer Reports magazine advise limiting the consumption of baby cereal to one quarter-cup serving per day (uncooked). For their part, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School recommend that parents ban baby formula containing brown rice syrup. And in the UK, it is advised against giving rice milk to children under four and a half due to concerns about arsenic.
Also, The Grocery Show revealed that He althy Times brand Organic Brown Rice Baby Cereal has an inorganic arsenic level of 0.22 ppm, which is 22 times higher than the acceptable limit of total arsenic established for drinking water. However, Protégez-Vous had ranked this brand among the best baby cereals based on criteria of sugar and iron content. In light of various expert opinions, the magazine has added a disclaimer in the introduction to its dossier.
Good to know
Children under the age of three are most exposed to inorganic arsenic, their daily exposure to dietary arsenic can be up to three times that of an adult.
Source: European Food Safety Authority, 2010.
Arsenic: is rice poisoning you? (Reserved for Protégez-Vous subscribers)