Thursday, 4 May 2017

Illegal levels of arsenic in 75% of children's baby rice products



Nearly 75% of baby rice products marketed at children in the UK contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic, according to a study.

 
The study's authors, from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast warned there could be health implications for children eating baby cereals and rice cakes.


Researchers say chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause a range of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and damage to the nervous system.


In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on food manufacturers in a bid to mitigate health risks.


Professor Andy Meharg from Queen's University Belfast said: "First we found the levels of inorganic arsenic in foods destined for young children are above the legal standards set by the European Union.


"Secondly we have shown that when children eat those products they get elevated arsenic in their urine - about five-fold higher after they were weened."


Rice typically has 10 times more inorganic arsenic than other foods, the scientists behind the study said.
 
 
The World Health Organisation says the chemical arsenic is found in the groundwater of a number of countries, with contaminated water used for things like rice crops posing the greatest threat to public health.


The Food Standards Agency told Sky News: "There have been strict maximum limits for inorganic arsenic (i.e. arsenic which does not occur naturally) in rice for use in foods for infants and young children since January 2016.


"It is the responsibility of food manufacturers to ensure that products comply with this legislation.


Local authorities enforce this legislation in the UK and report any non-compliant results to the FSA.


"We continuously review new evidence and will consider whether this new study from Queen's University adds to the data we already have on exposure to arsenic for young children."


There are now calls for manufacturers to display arsenic levels on packaging to allow consumers to make an informed choice.




SKY     News.