Health-endangering arsenic found in Hungarian rice products

According to Penzcentrum.hu, the Association of Conscious Consumers Hungary investigated the quality and circumstances of production of Hungarian rice-based products available in supermarkets. Out of the altogether 33 different rice-based brands examined, a high arsenic level was detected only in two products, where the amount surpassed the acceptable limit. Here are the results of this research.

The Association of Conscious Consumers Hungary carried out a research in which, besides focusing on the circumstances of organic production and the environmental impact of it, experts also examined the presence of heavy metals, like arsenic, lead and cadmium, contained in the foods. Altogether 23 different types of rice products and 10 puffed rice products were tested that are available for every customer in supermarkets and bio shops.

Promising research results

These days, the consumption of rice-based products has an increasing significance, which is partly thanks to the growing popularity of the gluten-free diet in which case rice mostly replaces wheat flour.

However, rice can be the source of health-endangering chemicals, like the arsenic, lead or the cadmium, which, if consumed in large quantitites, can cause serious health problems.

In fact, arsenic is a toxic trace element that is found in nearly all foods, but mostly in small amounts. However, together with the chemicals mentioned above, they are not easy to be excreted from the body and in the long run, they can accumulate and damage the kidney or have carcinogenic effects.

In the research, the highest score (80%) was reached by the Müller Bio Gourmet Basmati Rice, but the Müller Alnatura Basmati Rice (79%) was also found to be a high-quality product. Then, at third place came 4 brands: the Tesco Value “B” Quality Long Grain Rice, the S Budget “B” Quality Rice, the Tesco Basmati “A” Quality Rice and the Lidl Golden Sun Basmati Rice.

The high scores of the products mentioned above indicate the small amount of arsenic included in them, so there is nothing to worry about when consuming them. Furthermore, it is good news that no mercury was detected in any of the brands and the amount of cadmium and lead were also relatively low. Given that 2 products were produced in Europe, the environmental impact generated by their transportation to Hungary was not observable either. Also, the Müller products also have organic certification, although when comparing them to the other examined rice-based brands, it turns out that they are also more expensive.

Among the puffed rice products, that of the Ham-let was judged to be the best (82%), which is followed by the product of the DmBio (81%). The level of arsenic was very low in both products, and neither lead nor mercury was detected in them.

Products with the worst results

In all the examined products, some amount of arsenic was detected. However, while in most cases its amount was relatively low and well below the limit, in others, it was higher, giving cause for concern. The arsenic level of the Riso Scotti “A” Quality Long Grain Rice and the puffed rice product of the Goodfood Bio approached the limit and drew the attention of the association.

Eventually, the Association of Conscious Consumers Hungary consulted the National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO) about the found results concerning the two questionable products, but stated in the end that, although the amount of arsenic contained in the products is higher, it is not harmful to the health.

Despite all these, it is worth paying attention to the consumption of this element since it can easily get into foods through contaminated water or soil. Besides causing cancerous diseases, its consumption can eventually lead to arsenic poisoning as well. Therefore, it is highly advisable to take the time when purchasing even basic foods!