Rice has long been a staple food to put back. A lot of preppers have a considerable amount of calories tied up in the form of rice or rice based products.
While consuming rice in small amounts after cooking the way most of us in the United States do, it is not going to cause arsenic poisoning, it is worth learning how to cook it like those in countries where rice is the mainstay food.
If you are in a survival situation or long emergency then is is possible that you may find that you and your family are getting a lot of calories from rice. Women of childbearing age and children are particularly susceptible to arsenic poisoning and it can cause a myriad of problems in anyone over time.
Taking a portion of the arsenic out of rice is not hard and you should not go and throw out all your rice or anything extreme. All foods have some safety issues and you have to learn how to handle them properly. Rice is no different.
Chicken has to be handled in a way that doesn’t cross contaminate other areas of your kitchen or eating areas for example. Tomatoes have to be canned correctly to prevent botulism. The thing about rice is that since it is just a dried commodity staple food, most people never think that it could have anything harmful in it. Great Bazaar Pakistani... Buy New $28.54 (as of 12:35 EST - Details)
What does regular exposure to arsenic lead to?
Exposure to arsenic over time increases the chance of bladder, skin, and lung cancer. The risk of heart disease goes up as well. Children can have developmental effects. Expectant mothers can pass arsenic on to their children in utero so it is very important to watch exposure during pregnancy.
Since so many foods, especially cereals for infants, contain rice, there is concern about overall levels in foods. This is one of the reasons that the FDA put a lot of research into determining average levels in popular products and setting guidelines to prevent problems.
Consumer Reports did a major study testing many of the common name brands of rice. They found that the highest ranking rices on the list when eaten at a rate of 2-3 servings per day for an infant or child, could potentially double the risk of cancers. This was enough to make a lot of people take notice of this issue and take steps to reduce the exposure of their child.
Which rice has the highest levels?
The arsenic content of different rices can vary a lot. The rice grown in the United States has a tendency to accumulate arsenic more readily than that in some other countries. This is not caused by any unethical practices.
Brown rice has higher levels of arsenic than white. This is because a lot of the accumulated arsenic is resident in the husk of the rice. This is important because so many people assume that brown rice is better for you nutritionally. If you eat a lot of it you may want to mix in more white rice into your diet part of the time.
The FDA and Consumer Reports have both done extensive studies on arsenic in rice. Their data is very interesting and shows just how much one brand or type of rice can vary from another.
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Unfortunately, the rice that consistently tests the highest for arsenic is that that is grown in the United States and so readily available at a good price to the public. The rice that has the highest levels are grown in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Balsamati rice from India has the least amount of arsenic of any rice that was tested. This style of rice grown in California also tests low in terms of inorganic arsenic.
Is there a major difference in arsenic levels in organic versus conventional rice?
Rice takes up naturally occurring arsenic from the soil and water so organic and conventional rices can all have arsenic. Buying organic rice does not solve the arsenic issue for you.
Nutrient loss: Rinsing or boiling rice and pouring off the excess water does help with arsenic levels. The tables that follow show the nutrient loss and reduction in arsenic that occurred in different rice types using these methods.