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 Post subject: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:16 am 
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Now this:
http://www.enviroblog.org/2012/09/getti ... aign=toxic

And e.coli in Canadian meat. Not that worries us, but when I think about all those cows that suffered, just to have their meat thrown out.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:30 am 
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I know, it's devastating, the rice info was posted here, but this time it was a Consumer Reports link. My folks actually subscribed us to that magazine so our issue showed up with the headline on the cover :(

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=23109

p.s. the dog in your avatar, oh how painfully cute he/she is!

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:04 am 
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http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Consume ... 319827.htm
"Based on data and scientific literature available now, FDA is not recommending that consumers change their consumption of rice and rice products at this time, but that people eat a balanced diet containing a wide variety of grains."

I'm totally not stopping nor reducing eating rice. I love rice.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:26 pm 
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+1 Kimba. Rice forever.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Arsenic and Old Rice?

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Last edited by Desdemona on Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Arsenic and Old Rice?

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:32 pm 
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IMHO, this is more of a public health/large scale food supply safety issue than a reason to change what we eat on an individual level. There is currently no evidence that these levels of arsenic are harmful. There is also not a lot of evidence that arsenic is not present in lots of other foods. It is always a good idea to eat a varied diet, but I don't see any reason to avoid rice at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:54 pm 
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It concerns me because my baby's food is thickened with rice (she won't take it otherwise). :(

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:56 am 
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I'm still giving rice cereal to my baby. But also oatmeal cereal. And soon another kind too, just to mix it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:17 pm 
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The January 2015 issue of Consumer Reports is an update of the earlier 2012 article about high levels of arsenic in rice.

The arsenic comes from pollution of the soil, but the rice plant gets much more of it up than other grain plants. Rice from Texas is worse and brown rice has more arsenic than white. Supposedly organic rice has the same problem.

The CR article stated that this arsenic could contribute to several different kinds of cancer and heart disease.

From 2012 when this story first broke this article in The Chicago Tribune says you can reduce the arsenic by about 25% by rinsing your rice:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012 ... ooked-rice

Also from 2012 this article said you can reduce the arsenic by using 6 parts water to 1 part rice. Someone in another group mentioned he always gets great rice using that method, cooking for 30 minutes, then draining
http://www.eatthis.com/blog/carcinogen-found-rice

The reason why Consumer Reports published an updated article was to list better and worse sources of rice, as well as listing grains that were much lower in arsenic, like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc. Just about all of the grains most cooks are familiar with.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:39 pm 
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Yeah, I saw that new article as well. I already have been eating a lot less rice because I've been eating a lot less grain and starch in general, but I was definitely glad I already don't eat brown rice (because blah). I am going to start sourcing non-US rice, although that is such a shame, because my heart belongs forever to Calrose.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:11 am 
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I remember that older article and just saw the new one the other day. I just wish Consumer Reports had tested more rices from different countries of origin...Japan, China, Italy, etc. I mainly eat Egyptian rice and would like to know where it ranks compared to others. I think if the issue is avoiding US rice, it shouldn't be too hard. What's tough is knowing the origin of the rice in products like crackers, rice milks, baby formulas, and others, where it could be from one or multiple origins.

It's good to know that rinsing the rice before cooking removes a significant amount of it. I think it's an important step in rice cooking anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:48 am 
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Ariaan, mr.zaatar,

My questions are how much does rinsing brown rice, soaking it ( like I do ), or cooking it 6:1 with water reduces arsenic and how that number fits in with a reasonable amount.

I was impressed that Consumer Reports article stated that the new article was in response to reader's questions, so over the holidays I think I will write them an email asking them to consider testing those cooking methods.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:49 pm 
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Testing rice from other countries would certainly have been helpful. I do sometimes soak my rice (depending on final application), but I could probably go ahead and do so with all of my rice.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:22 pm 
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I started doing it in college after reading Madhur Jaffries' recipe for making brown rice. One part rice, two parts water, soaked for one hour, then heated until the water evaporates. I used to toss the soaking water. I have an intuition a lot of the arsenic got lost that way. I would still like to use that method if I knew it worked. Using 12 cups of water to cook two cups of rice seems insane to me. Oh well, once I finish off the rice I have I will try the new cooking method.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:59 pm 
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beforewisdom wrote:
I started doing it in college after reading Madhur Jaffries' recipe for making brown rice. One part rice, two parts water, soaked for one hour, then heated until the water evaporates. I used to toss the soaking water. I have an intuition a lot of the arsenic got lost that way. I would still like to use that method if I knew it worked. Using 12 cups of water to cook two cups of rice seems insane to me. Oh well, once I finish off the rice I have I will try the new cooking method.

Interesting, I haven't seen that recipe by Jaffrey. For white and brown rice, I do 3 rinses, a 10-15 minute soak, then dump the water and add fresh water for cooking. That is the predominant method used in the Middle East and I really like the texture it yields. (I did a blog post recently on making white and brown rice, if you're interested.)

It gets white rice on the table in 32 minutes and brown rice in 47 minutes, flat. Though, like you, I wonder what this method does to the arsenic levels. Also, that boiling method--rice boiled in a copious amount of water then drained--is just wrong. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:53 am 
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mr.zaatar wrote:
Interesting, I haven't seen that recipe by Jaffrey. For white and brown rice, I do 3 rinses, a 10-15 minute soak, then dump the water and add fresh water for cooking. That is the predominant method used in the Middle East and I really like the texture it yields. (I did a blog post recently on making white and brown rice, if you're interested.)

It gets white rice on the table in 32 minutes and brown rice in 47 minutes, flat. Though, like you, I wonder what this method does to the arsenic levels. Also, that boiling method--rice boiled in a copious amount of water then drained--is just wrong. :)


In my earlier comment I posted a link to a Chicago Tribune article that came out out in 2012 when the arsenic and rice story first hit the press. The author of that article claims that rinsing rice ( running it under the sink in a colander? ) reduces arsenic levels about 25%. I think that is pretty a decent amount since their average audience is likely people who do not eat rice every day and who are also getting a crepe ton of arsenic from chicken.

As far as the 6 cups of water to 2 cups of rice, I agree, it sounds over the top. The guy who told it to me swore by it though. I might try it this weekend, but I will be surprised if I get anything back other than mush.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:58 am 
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I started boiling rice in a LOT more water than it needs to absorb and then draining it like pasta based on a recommendation from Alton Brown (well, he didn't recommend it to me personally but it was from one of his shows) and that's how I cook it every time now. It always comes out great! For long grain brown rice I bring the water to a boil, dump the rice in, simmer for 45 min, drain, and then let it sit in the pot with the lid on for 15 min and then fluff with a fork.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:23 pm 
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mr.zaatar wrote:
Interesting, I haven't seen that recipe by Jaffrey. For white and brown rice, I do 3 rinses, a 10-15 minute soak, then dump the water and add fresh water for cooking. That is the predominant method used in the Middle East and I really like the texture it yields. (I did a blog post recently on making white and brown rice, if you're interested.)


Yeah, that's the method I was taught. I don't use it for everything, though - I can do white rice a lot faster using a method I learned from some TV cook (Martha Stewart? Sara Moulton?) that works really well for Chinese-style applications, so I reserve the rinsing/soaking for Middle Eastern and European style dishes. I guess I might just extend the rinse/soak to everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:48 pm 
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The online version of The Consumer Reports article is different from the print version I read.

I just noticed this

Quote:
Cooking to lower arsenic levels

You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in any type of rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice, and draining the excess water afterward. That is a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia. The modern technique of cooking rice in water that is entirely absorbed by the grains has been promoted because it allows rice to retain more of its vitamins and other nutrients. But even though you may sacrifice some of rice's nutritional value, research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice's inorganic arsenic content.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:00 pm 
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The levels for rice pasta at the bottom of the table are so troubling. I wonder if there are any ways to cut down on the arsenic in that.

And how much does it suck that the arsenic that is all over poultry is now seeping into vegan food, thanks to pollution. Boo.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
And how much does it suck that the arsenic that is all over poultry is now seeping into vegan food, thanks to pollution. Boo.


That is what angered me when I originally read the article too. Livestock farm runoff is also what has caused people getting sick from eating spinach.

I wrote to Consumers Reports asking them to consider testing different methods of rice preparation like the one I have been using, now most of my life, where rice is soaked first. I asked them if tossing the soaking water would help and how much.

I also asked them to put their warnings into perspective: if someone doesn't eat chicken, other products, etc how much is eating a lot of rice a problem then?

My intuition is that someone eating chicken regularly gets a biomagnified dose of arsenic compared to someone eating lower on the food chain with frequent rice consumption.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:11 pm 
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I like the idea of testing different prep methods - that would be so helpful

And I agree re the chicken, that said, even if we're not eating chicken and therefore eating smaller doses (especially if children are consuming them), it still presents a risk for cancers etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:35 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I like the idea of testing different prep methods - that would be so helpful

And I agree re the chicken, that said, even if we're not eating chicken and therefore eating smaller doses (especially if children are consuming them), it still presents a risk for cancers etc.


I would like some numbers to give me perspective. Dose makes the poison. There are so many things at x parts per million are not considered to be a problem. It would be interesting to know how much of an average weekly intake of arsenic puts you in the zone of increasing your risk for cancer. Then you could look at charts to see what you are getting from various foods. It might be if you are a vegan eating brown rice almost everyday that you might still be far below the threshold with those other foods out of your diet. Right now, that is just wishful thinking, but it would be nice to see some numbers.

I can see Consumer Reports researching that, since they did one follow up already, though it make take another two years.

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 Post subject: Re: Arsenic in rice
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:40 am 
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I have been making brown rice a particular way for a few decades. Given the article I tried a different method tonight.

I cooked 2 cups of brown rice in 12 cups of water after rinsing the rice in a colander. I simmered the brown rice for 30 minutes and after draining put it back in the pot to sit for a while before stirring it with a fork. It seemed slightly more sticky and sweet, and held slightly less of its form. Not bad overall though. I can probably get used it. Ugh, it is hard to change after all of these years.

It is still not bad though. Back in the late 90s I went to a quack doctor who scared me off of rice for a while. The other whole grains I ate never quite "felt like home".

At least I am not in that position now, I can still have my brown rice.

Change. Ugh. Just a matter of getting used to it.

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