Did you know that there is arsenic in baby cereal? Infant rice cereal has 6 times more arsenic than other kinds of infant cereal. Any level of arsenic is dangerous and health risks include a link to learning disabilities in children.
Brooks Applied Labs* in Bothell, WA tested more than 100 samples of infant rice. The report found that overall, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, organic quinoa, wheat and rice-free multigrain baby cereals contained much lower amounts of inorganic arsenic than rice cereals.
What can parents do now?
- Avoid infant rice cereal and choose oatmeal or multigrain cereal instead.
- If you need to eat rice cereal, cook rice using extra water and pour off before eating-this can cut arsenic levels up to 60%.
- Serve other grains like quinoa and farro instead of rice.
- Serve whole or pureed fruits instead of juice (apple, pear and grape juices also have arsenic.) Avoid rice milk.
- Gluten-free? Try to avoid rice flour which is common in gluten-free foods.
- Buy basmati white rice grown in California, India, and Pakistan. White rice has less arsenic than brown rice. Rice from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or simply “US” has the highest levels, according to testing by Consumer Reports.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) need to stop dragging their feet and set a protective, health-based limit on arsenic in baby food to protect our children.
Review the report and tips sheet for more information, Health Baby Cereals Report.*
Pam Smith is the Healthy Children Project Coordinator for LDA of Texas.
Tracy Gregoire is the Director of LDA’s Healthy Children Project.