The “organic” food health craze has provided a health-conscious generation with more nutritious food options.
But as it turns out, some of the foods you think are making you healthier may in fact contain a very toxic ingredient – arsenic.
A team of researchers from Dartmouth have revealed many organic food products that contain a supplement known as organic brown rice syrup have a much higher concentration of dietary arsenic than foods without the syrup. They tested numerous organic foods with the ingredient, including infant formulas, cereal and energy bars, and energy supplements used by marathoners and cyclists.
One of the infant formulas tested had a degree of arsenic six times the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe drinking water limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb).
Brian Jackson, research associate professor and lead author of the study, said the study stemmed from previous studies the team had done on arsenic in baby formulas.
“The main brand infant formulas were pretty low,” Jackson told FoxNews.com. “Then I was at a local super market and saw two infant formulas we hadn’t run, and they had 20 to 30 times higher rates of arsenic than all of the other main brand infant formulas. I looked at the label and the first ingredient I saw was organic brown rice syrup.”
“I’d done work on arsenic in rice before, and we knew rice can take quite a high concentration of arsenic, so immediately thought the arsenic was from the rice syrup,” Jackson said. “So it got me thinking what other foods contain brown rice syrup.”
Organic brown rice syrup increasingly is being used in organic foods as a healthier sweetener option. The brown rice variant is (also) typically used as an alternative for high fructose corn syrup after criticism surfaced that corn syrup was a much more harmful component than sugar and was substantially adding to the obesity epidemic.
Rice’s tendency to have higher concentrations of arsenic is a result of how it grows. When rice is cultivated, it absorbs a compound known as silica, which helps the plant grow more vigorously.