Surabaya, 10 Januari 2012
Puji Tuhan, kabarku baik. Mas, apa kabar? Anton temanmu yang di surat sebelumnya kamu ceritakan baru saja putus, ya? Dia sudah punya pacar baru lagi? Sepertinya belum ada seminggu surat itu kuterima, cepatnya…
Kamu tau? bukan kamu saja yang tiap kali makan…
ARSENIC: HIDDEN POISON IN FOOD?
A new U.S. study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives is suggesting that the sweetener called Organic Brown Rice Syrup may be toxic. Researchers looked at infant formula, cereal bars and high energy foods for athletes (all sweetened with the rice syrup) and they found high levels of arsenic.
This is not surprising, given that we have been aware for some time that rice can have higher levels of arsenic in it. But the challenge is that there are no guidelines in the U.S. or Canada as to how much arsenic in food is safe.
Because there is no standard for arsenic in food, the researchers used the guidelines for drinking water as a point of comparison. Guidelines for water in Canada and the U.S. call for no more than 10 parts per billion of arsenic. In some cases, the foods that the researchers tested exceeded this amount. Still, there have been no reported health problems associated with rice or rice sweeteners.
Exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic in drinking water has been associated with cancer, damage to the nervous system and disruption of the digestive tract among other health problems. The bottom line here is that we need more research into the health impact of arsenic in foods, and we need government health agencies to set limits and guidelines for arsenic in food.
In the meantime, if you’re concerned about arsenic from rice in your food and you’d like to reduce your intake you can simply have a look at the ingredient list on the food’s label. If rice, rice flakes, organic brown rice syrup or other rice products are present among the first ingredients listed, chances are the food has a significant amount of rice in it.
At the end of the day your best approach is to minimize your intake of processed foods in general, and include a variety of foods in your diet until we have a better idea of the situation with arsenic in food.
For an overview of the health impacts of arsenic see: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/arsenic-eng.php