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Rice safe to eat despite arsenic levels: FDA

Consumers shouldn’t worry too much about arsenic in rice. That’s according to the Food and Drug Administration which announced Friday it had found no evidence that levels of the chemical in rice products were high enough to pose an immediate health risk.

The agency tested more than 1,300 different types of rice and rice products, such as rice cakes and children’s cereal. It found arsenic levels ranged from 3 to 7 micrograms per serving. (Via CBS)

The FDA said those levels were not hazardous to human health in the short term and it’s looking into any potential long-term risks. Arsenic is known to cause cancer and several other health-related problems.

Rice is grown in flooded fields and is particularly susceptible to taking in arsenic, which naturally occurs in the soil, rocks and water. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Fastily)

According to HealthDay “The FDA has been testing levels of arsenic in foods for more than 20 years, but stepped up its surveillance in recent years. ... Currently, there is no standard for the amount of arsenic allowable in foods, including rice ... ”

Just two months ago, the agency proposed new limits for acceptable levels of arsenic in apple juice. It suggested a standard of 10 parts per billion — the same level the EPA sets for drinking water. (Via NBC)

So what can you do to rice to minimize the levels of arsenic you consume? ABC’s Chief Health and Medical editor Dr. Richard Besser had a few suggestions.

“You want to rinse it until the water runs clear, and that will take some of the arsenic out. Cook it in excess water and some of the arsenic will be left in that water when you put it behind. But vary your diet, don’t have rice every day, mix in other grains."

A few other grains to try: barley, oats or quinoa.

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