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High Levels Of Arsenic Found In Rice: Consumer Reports

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Melissa Kamhout switched her babies to sweet potatoes for lunch on Wednesday after learning about potential high levels of arsenic in rice cereal. (CBS)

Melissa Kamhout switched her babies to sweet potatoes for lunch on Wednesday after learning about potential high levels of arsenic in rice cereal. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — After studying dozens of rice-based foods, from Rice Krispies to baby cereal, Consumer Reports said Wednesday that it found many brands contain high levels of arsenic.

That news came as a shock to parents, CBS 2′s Marissa Bailey reports.

It is just about lunch time for 9-month-old twins, Paloma and Valentino.

Instead of a serving of rice cereal, the babies are getting sweet potatoes today.

Their health conscious mother thought she was picking a good rice cereal–Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice. However, this exact brand was named in a study by Consumer Reports as a rice cereal with high levels of the potent human carcinogen, arsenic.

“I was surprised especially in the organic rice cereal,” Melissa Kamhout said. “You know you hope that when you buy organic that you’re a little safer.”

Consumer Reports tested more than 200 different brown and white rice foods, including organic, name brand and generic items. The study also looked at rice milk.

Consumer Reports’ results found arsenic levels higher in brown rice vs. white rice across the board. However, all types had arsenic levels that were too high.

Pediatrician Scott Goldstein said parents shouldn’t panic, but more research is needed.

“My initial thought is, cutting out rice is not going to cure cancer,” he said. The study, he said, “definitely raises some good questions.”

Dr. Goldstein said he would continue to advise parents–and his three kids under the age of eight–to eat rice in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

You can read more about the report here. The Food and Drug Administration is conducting its own study, with results expected by the end of the year.

The USA Rice Federation says: “We are unaware of any consumers being harmed by arsenic in rice. Scientists will continue to study how the human body processes arsenic in food and water, and will determine if there is any long-term risk in order to provide dietary guidance if appropriate.

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