Due to the recent release about rice cereal for infants, do we (the center) need to post this so that parents will be aware of the possible link of traces of arsenic and let them make the decision about what was stated by Consumer Reports this week.

 

Consumer Reports recently tested samples of rice and rice products to determine arsenic levels. Arsenic is a potential human carcinogen and may cause other health problems. The results showed higher than expected arsenic levels in a variety of rice products, like infant cereal, ready-to-eat cereal, brown and white rice, rice cakes and rice milk.

Consumer Reports has published a set of suggestions for rice consumption:

  • Limit infant rice cereal to one serving per day for infants
  • Limit rice cereal to one serving per day for children under 5 years
  • Do not serve rice milk or rice drinks on a regular basis for children under 5 years

If parents choose to eliminate rice cereal from their infant’s diet, it is important that they provide other sources of iron, like pureed beef or chicken, cooked egg yolks and some vegetables like sweet potatoes and broccoli.

A related set of tests published in January also found elevated levels of arsenic in apple and grape juice. Children 6 years and under should limit consumption to 4-6 ounces per day.

The US Food and Drug Administration has not made any specific recommendations for limiting rice consumption, but does recommend eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains. You can find more information at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm#chart and http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm319827.htm.

In regards to posting within individual centers and family home providers, please be sure to check with your licensing consultant regarding specific posting requirements.  Parent who are not aware of the Consumer Report findings may certainly appreciate the posting of information.

This post was written by Monica Griffin, MS, RD, LD.