Rice Cereal for Babies: What Parents Need to Know about Arsenic in Rice


Rice cereal is one of the baby food top choice but researchers concern on the growing evidence of arsenic in rice. Dr. Ruth Lawrence from University of Rochester Medicine gives advices for parents who want to prepare food for babies!

Rice cereal for babies, is it safe?

Dr. Lawrence explains the arsenic presence on Earth. It can be anywhere in the water, soil and even air. American Cancer Society reported that a long-term exposure to arsenic compound can increase cancer risk and other health problems.

Rice as a major ingredient for cereal for babies, is prone to arsenic exposure since it is grown in water. FDA published a statement regarding arsenic in rice and rice products - stating that rice may contain high levels of inorganic arsenic. Quoting from CNN, rice takes up arsenic more than other grains. Hence, FDA proposed a limit, that is '100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal'.

Based on scientific information, the agency is working towards inorganic arsenic reduction in rice cereal for babies as well as giving advices to consumers in a separate announcement, published in FDA Newsroom.

As for parents who want to prepare food for babies, Dr. Lawrence shares useful insights:

-          Do not feed rice cereal for babies under six months old

At least not until the infant is six months old. This is due to the fact that babies need to be breastfed exclusively. And it is better to give them formula than solid food.

-          Pay attention to rice cereal for babies' brands

The level of inorganic arsenic in rice cereal may vary depending on the brand. Consumer Reports conducted a test on arsenic in foods including popular brands and organic products.

-          Do not feed your baby with multigrain cereal

The professor at UR Medical Center suggests parents to feed babies with single grain cereals. For instance, a bowl of quinoa or oats or barley. This will help to identify which grains are likely to cause health issue.

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