Target: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Goal: Pressure the FDA to set standards for arsenic limits in food.
In recent years studies have identified the potential danger of arsenic in rice. Now, as people are increasingly turning towards organic foods in search of healthier lifestyles, there may be cause for greater concern. Organic brown rice syrup is considered the “healthy” alternative to high fructose corn syrup and sugar, and is being used more often as a sweetener. However, new evidence points to organic brown rice syrup and other products as sources of arsenic, and consumers unknowingly may be at risk.
Arsenic is a known human toxin with carcinogenic potential. Consumed in high enough doses over a lifetime, arsenic can be deadly. At the same time, as organic brown rice syrup gains popularity as a healthier option for sweetener, it is being introduced into food processing. Items such as baby formula, cereal bars and high-energy foods for athletes are some of the unexpected places organic brown rice syrup—and alarming levels of arsenic—can be found. For this reason, even the most informed consumer could ingest arsenic without even realizing it.
As discussed in an article by the Environmental News Network (ENN), Dartmouth researchers, who had previously called attention to the possibility of arsenic entering the human body via rice, have conducted studies researching the potential of finding arsenic in products with rice syrup. Professor Brian Jackson, director of the Trace Element Analysis Core Facility at Dartmouth, leads these studies and is concerned. Jackson and his research team purchased products containing organic brown rice syrup in the ingredients and compared them with similar products without rice syrup.
The results: in every instance the products containing organic brown rice syrup were higher in arsenic than products without the rice syrup additive. Most strikingly, one of the infant formulas made with organic brown rice syrup contained arsenic levels six times that of the EPA safe drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion. Cereal bars and high-energy foods containing organic brown rice syrup had significantly higher arsenic concentrations than the comparable products without rice syrup, and high levels of inorganic arsenic—the element in its most toxic form.
More than anything, this study and others like it underscore the need for FDA to set arsenic standards for food products. Currently, arsenic limits are determined for water, but not food products. Consumers, and infants, are ingesting arsenic without even realizing it—posing a particular problem for children. Please sign below to express your concern to the FDA. Safe arsenic levels in food must be established as soon as possible.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
The need for arsenic standards in food products is now greater than ever. A study conducted by Professor Brian Jackson, director of the Trace Element Analysis Core Facility at Dartmouth University, found shocking levels of the toxin in organic brown rice syrup.
The study compared brands of infant formula, cereal bars and high-energy foods made with organic brown rice syrup to comparable brands without the rice syrup. The results identified all of the products made with organic brown rice syrup to be significantly higher in arsenic levels than the products without the syrup. Most notably, one of the infant formulas contained arsenic levels six times that of the EPA drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion.
Because of its reputation—organic brown rice as the “healthy” alternative to the highly-processed high fructose corn syrup and sugar—brown rice syrup is being increasingly introduced into food processing. As a result, many consumers are ingesting the organic brown rice syrup and its high levels of arsenic unknowingly.
This study and others like it stress the great need for an arsenic standard for food products. Please consider the safety of U.S. consumers, and set a standard for arsenic in food.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Scishark.com