Ways to protect yourself from arsenic in rice

 Comments Off on Ways to protect yourself from arsenic in rice
Nov 192014
 

1348157527_5711_rice

 

 

 

 

 

This information was taken from www.examiner.com/article/ways-to-protect-yourself-from-arsenic-rice a US publication on the subject.

People are growing increasingly concerned about reports of high arsenic levels in our country’s rice. Consumer Reports issued a report this week that warned of arsenic levels at “worrisome” levels and the FDA confirmed that their own tests have found levels consistent with those of Consumer Reports.

I warned about high arsenic levels in rice products such as infant cereal, organic brown rice syrup, cereal bars and rice milk last February when Dartmouth College found alarming levels of arsenic in some of these products.

In that study, researchers reported that one organic infant formula contained arsenic levels that were six times higher than legal arsenic levels for drinking water.

Why is arsenic in our rice?

In order to keep yourself safe from arsenic in rice products, it’s important to know how it’s getting there.

Simply put, arsenic is a toxin that persists in the soil for a very long time and it’s in some of our country’s soils because of these factors:

  • The use of arsenic-containing pesticides in the past. Much of the rice in the southern states is grown on land once used to grow cotton, which was doused with arsenic-containing pesticides for years. Arsenic remains for decades, long past the three years it takes to officially convert land to an organic status.
  • The use of arsenic in chicken feed, which remains in the manure that is used to fertilize crops.
  • Proximity to coal-burning power plants.
  • Contamination from arsenic-treated lumber. This lumber is now banned in the U.S. but is still widely present as mulch.
  • Arsenic-contaminated water used to flood the crops.
  • Naturally occurring levels (to a much smaller extent).

Rice is especially effective at soaking up toxins because of the way it’s grown, in water-flooded conditions. Some varieties of rice are also thought to be more likely to absorb arsenic.

This is an excellent example of why it makes sense to buy organic products even when we’re not consuming them. All of those years that cotton was grown with heavy amounts of toxic pesticides led to poison soil that is now growing our nation’s baby food. This is also a reminder of why it’s so important to move away from coal-burning power plants (which also pollute our lakes with mercury and more) and to make common-sense safety decisions when it comes to what we feed livestock and put in our environment.

So what can you do to protect your family’s

? There are lots of steps you can take, and you do not have to give up ever eating rice again.

Here’s how to minimize the amount of arsenic you consume and keep your family safe:

  • Rinse rice thoroughly before cooking, and then boil rice with extra water to be poured off after cooking. This reduces about 30% of the arsenic in the rice. Aim for six cups of water per one cup of rice.
  • Avoid rice grown in the south central states, such as Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. These states were once cotton states and have shown significantly higher arsenic levels. California rice was tested at 41% lower arsenic levels than rice from these states.
  • Purchase other types of rice such as Basmati rice from countries that have tested much lower arsenic levels than the U.S., such as Nepal, India and Pakistan. Rice from Egypt was found to have the lowest arsenic levels of those tested.
  • Eat white rice as well as brown. While brown rice is generally healthier than white rice, more of the arsenic is stored in the outer hull. Consumer Reports has stated that arsenic concentrations found in the bran that is removed in milling can be 10 to 20 times higher than levels found in bulk rice.
  • Limit your servings of rice and rice products to no more than one per day at a maximum. Be mindful of how many products contain rice, such as rice cereals, rice cakes and gluten-free pasta and bread products. If your family is gluten-free, this is a good time to start experimenting with other food choices and alternative flours like almond flour, coconut flour and garfava flour.
  • Alternate your rice with other grains. Good substitutions are wild rice (which is not actually rice and is not currently an arsenic concern), quinoa and millet. You can also go grain-free for some meals each week and rely instead on foods such as spaghetti squash, zucchini strip “pasta” and cauliflower “rice.” Check paleo blogs and web sites for lots of recipes like these.
  • Avoid rice cereal for your baby. Feed a variety of age appropriate, unprocessed foods instead.
  • Do not serve rice milk as a primary beverage for your children. Aim instead for a wide variety of beverages and lots of filtered water.
  • Aim to serve mostly whole foods instead of packaged foods. This is generally good advice anyway!
  • Check ingredients for rice syrup and look for products that don’t list it near the top of ingredients. Organic brown rice cereal is a common sweetener in organic and natural foods.
  • Limit your family’s consumption of apple and grape juices. These have also been found to be high in arsenic (especially from other countries like China, who still use arsenic as pesticide).
  • If you have a private well for water, test it for arsenic levels. You can find information here on testing and treating your water for arsenic.
  • Purchase organic chicken if your family eats meat. Federal standards prohibit using chicken feed containing arsenic. Conventional chicken is often high in arsenic.
  • Breastfeed your baby instead of offering infant formula. Organic infant formulas often contain brown rice syrup as a sweetener.
  • Write your legislators and ask for federal limits of arsenic in foods. Consumer Reports has an online form to help.
  • See this chart to find out the arsenic levels in many brands of rice and foods tested by Consumer Reports.

Questions you have on Arsenic in rice

 Comments Off on Questions you have on Arsenic in rice
Nov 192014
 

 

This infomation was sent by Kallo on being asked by Scoff Quaff to comment on Arsenic in rice before the November 11th Show on this subject – http://www.kallo.com/faqs/

 

Arsenic – further information

Regarding recent media coverage about arsenic levels in rice based foods; we want to reassure you that there is no cause for concern about the safety of any of our foods. The safety of our food products is of paramount importance to Wessanen UK and whilst all our rice products comply with current arsenic regulation we will continue to follow the Food Standards Agency’s advice. We are working closely with the Food and Drink Federation and our suppliers to ensure all of our products comply with the new limits due in July 2015.

 

What is arsenic?

Arsenic is a chemical element which occurs widely in the environment in rocks and soil, in both sea and fresh water, and hence in almost all plant and animal tissues. Arsenic can occur in both organic and inorganic forms. Compared to organic arsenic, inorganic arsenic is of more concern if consumed regularly at high levels over long periods of time.

 

Why does arsenic contamination in food occur?

Arsenic contamination occurs both naturally (e.g. from soil and water) and from industrial processes such as mining and smelting of metals. Because arsenic is widespread in the environment, it occurs naturally at low levels in a wide range of foods.

 

 

Do Kallo rice products contain arsenic?

Arsenic is a natural metal which occurs widely in the environment in almost all plant and animal tissues and is absorbed by rice during growth. We try to minimise the amount in our products by using rice which had the lowest possible exposure to arsenic. There are tiny amounts of it almost everywhere which makes it impossible to avoid. At Wessanen UK we are working closely with the Food and Drink Federation and our suppliers to ensure all our products comply with the new limits due in July 2015.

 

Should I be concerned about arsenic in Kallo Foods rice products?

We want to reassure you that there is no cause for concern about the safety of any of our foods. The safety of our food products is of paramount importance and we can assure you that our test results, conducted by European Accredited Laboratories confirm that all of our rice products comply with current arsenic regulation. There is proposed legislation that is calling for a limit on inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products. These proposals are under review and may change again before they become law.

 

Why is there arsenic in food and rice based foods in particular?

Arsenic is naturally present in many foods, including grains, fruits and vegetables where it is absorbed from the soil and water. While many crops don’t readily take up much arsenic from the ground, rice is more susceptible to absorbing arsenic than other cereals due to the way it’s grown.

 

Are people consuming too much arsenic through food?

In October 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an opinion on arsenic which concluded that the estimated dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic for average and high level consumers in Europe should be reduced. In March 2014, EFSA reviewed dietary exposure and concluded that it was lower than that published in the 2009 opinion, however the EU Commission is continuing to seek a reduction in exposure through the setting of maximum limits, for example for arsenic in rice.

 

What are regulators doing to set limits which protect consumer health and are workable for industry?

The European Commission is currently discussing proposed maximum limits for inorganic arsenic in rice with EU Member States. At this stage it appears likely that limits may be set for brown rice, polished rice and rice products, particularly those consumed by young children. This dialogue will ensure that consumer health is protected through the establishment of limits that are workable and will not restrict the availability of rice.

 

Why are limits being set for arsenic in rice specifically?

Rice is known to concentrate more inorganic arsenic compared to other cereals. There is also increasing scientific evidence that traditional flooding of rice paddies causes anaerobic conditions, which can increase the availability of arsenic in the soil. The levels of inorganic arsenic found in rice vary considerably and rice remains an important contributor to a balanced and healthy diet.

 

What is Kallo Foods doing in terms of arsenic saftey?

The safety of our food products is of paramount importance to Wessanen UK. Whilst all our rice products comply with current arsenic regulation and many with the new proposed limits, we will continue to follow the Food Standards Agency’s advice. We are working closely with the Food and Drink Federation and our suppliers to ensure all our products comply to the new limits due in July 2015.

 

Does Kallo Foods comply with the new proposed arsenic limits?

We are confident that all our products will comply with the new limits – many of them do already. We will continue to follow the Food Standards Agency’s advice and once the new limits have been approved by the European Commission we will ensure all our products comply.

 

Is arsenic dangerous for certain groups?

The 2009 EFSA opinion concluded that the estimated dietary exposures of children was higher than those of adults, due to the greater food consumption relative to their body weight, however this does not necessarily indicate that children are at greater risk because the effects are due to long term exposure.

 

What about limits for arsenic for babies and children?

The 2009 EFSA opinion concluded that the estimated dietary exposures of children was higher than those of adults, due to the greater food consumption relative to their body weight, however this does not necessarily indicate that children are at greater risk because the effects are due to long term exposure. Kallo Foods products are marketed and sold to adults and therefore we are not required to meet baby limits we will however continue to follow the Food Standards Agency’s advice. We want to reassure you that there is no cause for concern on any of our rice products and support advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to eat a well-balanced diet, with no excess of any one food, for good nutrition.

 

Why is there a difference in arsenic levels between brown or wholegrain rice and white rice?

Brown or wholegrain rice has higher concentrations of arsenic because it concentrates in the part of the grain called the germ which is removed to make white rice.

 

What is the difference between inorganic arsenic, organic arsenic and total arsenic?

When the term organic is used in this context it is referring to the chemical elements present and is completely different from when we talk about organic food and drink. Atoms of arsenic bond with other elements to form molecules. If carbon is one of those elements then the compound created is organic. If there is no carbon present it is deemed an “inorganic” compound. Together they are referred to as “total arsenic”. The inorganic forms of arsenic are the ones that have been more closely associated with long-term health effects but so far most of the data that is collected are reported as total arsenic.

 

What’s inorganic got to do with organic foods?

There is no relationship at all between the term “inorganic arsenic” and the organic food movement. Because arsenic is naturally found in the soil and water, it is absorbed by plants regardless of whether they are grown under conventional or organic farming practices.

Why were the tested levels advertised in the Daily Mail far above the proposed limits?

We cannot explain why the limits were high as we did not conduct these tests and we do not know what testing methods were used. We can reassure you that our test results, conducted by European Accredited Laboratories are a lot lower and all of our rice products comply with current arsenic regulation. Many already comply with the proposed new limits. We are working closely with the FDF and our suppliers to ensure all of our products comply with the new limits due in July 2015. And our course we will also continue to follow the Food Standards Agency’s advice.

 

What are companies doing to reduce arsenic levels in products?

As a membership association, FDF monitors academic research on this topic and communicates key findings to members, as well as collating available industry data and sharing these with the FSA, to ensure workable regulatory limits are set. The methodology to measure inorganic arsenic in rice is relatively new, therefore food business operators are unlikely to have extensive historical data on which to base decisions and actions. Nevertheless, the European rice association has confirmed that rice sold is in conformity with the proposed EU maximum limits in 99% of cases. The industry is working to ensure full compliance by the time new limits are implemented. Research has indicated that new varieties of rice and changes in agricultural practices both show promise in potentially reducing levels of inorganic arsenic, however these are long term developments.

 

Scoff Website Stats October 2014

 Comments Off on Scoff Website Stats October 2014
Nov 062014
 

Scoff Stats 3_11_14

 

This shows the Scoff website stats for month of October 2014.

The Community Chef

 Comments Off on The Community Chef
Aug 192014
 

Sent by our fab farmer friend Charles Tassell…

At the recent ‘Kent Choices 4 U Live’ careers event I came across Dom Scannell from FirstService. He is behind the Community Chef project.

They target young adults who might have disengaged from society and work by getting them interested in cooking and healthy eating in the community.

One of the advantages is that they can use any type of foodstuff, so the approach works across cultures.

You can contact Dom via email dom@scannell.org.uk or mobile 07870 229513.

Community Chef

Community Chef

Community Chef

2014 Kentish Cobnut crop approaching – Potash Farm & The Walnut Tree Company

 Comments Off on 2014 Kentish Cobnut crop approaching – Potash Farm & The Walnut Tree Company
Jul 312014
 

Wednesday 30th July 2014

An all record 2014 Kentish Cobnut crop approaching – Potash Farm & The Walnut Tree Company

Potash Farm is situated at the southern end of the west Kent village of St Mary’s Platt in the beautiful rolling countryside between Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Maidstone.

Alexander Hunt, the owner of the farm, has had thirty years’ experience in cobnut growing and has in fact lived in the village for fifty years!

Potash7
Over the years, he has developed the farm into a specialist and developed cobnut growing business, selling Kentish cobnuts, almond, chestnuts, pecan nuts, walnuts and an extensive range of Kentish cobnut related gifts.

Potash Farm attends fourteen farmer’s markets on a monthly basis, three to four specialists events per month, serves 120 shops from Quex Park at Birchington in East Kent to the RHS Wisley shop near Guildford in Surrey and also serves many of the top London hotels, restaurants and cafes.

In addition, he has developed a very comprehensive website, www.kentishcobnuts.com and has an ever increasing following with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for those customers and potential purchasers who wish to comment on-line about this unique business.

Potash5During the second week of August, the bumper 2014 year crop of new season’s fresh green/golden cobnuts will be picked and extensively marketed by Potash Farm. The Kentish walnuts will follow on at the end of October.

Alexander Hunt has five new products for the 2014 nut season: namely the Ghana milk and Ecuador plain chocolate roasted cobnut bars.

Secondly he has just launched the handmade spicy onion marmalade with port & Kentish Cobnuts and the handmade spicy apple chutney with ale & Kentish cobnuts. These two products go well with cold meats and cheeses.

Potash Farm Cobnut oil Soap

Potash Farm Cobnut oil Soap

Thirdly the handmade Kentish cobnut oil natural soap is the first of the Potash Farm cosmetic range. It is made with luxious oils and has an excellent fragrance of Kentish geranium and lavender. It is excellent for those with sensitive skin and is available in 100g tablet.

Finally a fine local Kentish honey has been combined with the delicious Potash Farm Kentish Cobnuts. This natural golden treat is an Potash 4excellent addition to any breakfast or afternoon tea, pancakes, or even drizzled over rich dairy ice cream.

In addition, Alexander Hunt has become the leading supplier of quality walnut, cobnut, almond and sweet chestnut trees and he gives very specialist advice for garden, orchard, forest and amenities/landscape uses.

There is a particularly high demand for his walnut timber selections following the countries national ash dieback issue. He already has a number of very serious estate enquiries for these timber selections.

Many of the recent customers of The Walnut Tree Company include several prestigious UK forestry organisations from both government and private sectors and many estate/landowners, fruit growers across the British Isles. The company also has a list of international clients.

For further details please see: www.walnuttrees.co.uk and www.kentishcobnuts.com

For further information please contact Alexander W.J. Hunt FNAEA MBIAC, awjhunt@btconnect.com or telephone numbers 01732 882734, mobile 07979 525939

Note to editors: Alexander Hunt is Chairman of the Kentish Cobnuts Association, a Liveryman with the Fruiterers Livery Company, an active CLA Kent member, NFU Kent member, a member of the Farmers and Travellers Clubs in London and a member of the Land Society.