Brown rice, arsenic, cadmium and pesticides found in many brands: what it means

A new study conducted in Switzerland on food safety was particularly interesting because it concerned brown rice, commonly considered a healthier option than white rice. The test, conducted by K-Tipp on 14 brown rice products from different countriesrevealed the presence of traces of heavy metals such as arsenic, pesticides and mold toxins.

Laboratory analyzes on brown rice

Laboratory analyzes looked for pesticides, mold toxins and heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead in each rice sample. The results were worrying: traces of arsenic and cadmium were found in all the brown rice packages tested, with two organic products also having pesticide residues.

According to K-Tipp experts, the roots of rice plants absorb arsenic and cadmium present in the soil, bringing these heavy metals into the rice grains. Even if the quantities found were smallthe situation nevertheless raises concerns, considering the harmful effects of these substances on human health.

In particular, one organic rice showed the highest levels of arsenic, well above recommended safety limits. Popular brands in Switzerland such as Coop, Aldi and Claro have also featured increased levels of arsenic in their products.

Cadmium, another heavy metal, was found in 10 packages of brown rice. This metal is associated with serious long-term health problems, such as kidney and liver damage.

Another worrying discovery was the presence of pesticide residues in some organic products. This is especially dangerous, considering that organic brown rice should theoretically be free of synthetic pesticides.

Among the products tested, the Camargue red rice emerged as the worst, with the highest concentration of arsenic. On the contrary, the Rustico Nero Gallo rice and Ben's Original were rated the best.

Why is there arsenic in rice

The rice may be contaminated with arsenic due to several factors. First, arsenic is a naturally occurring element in soil and can be absorbed by plants, including grains such as rice, through their roots. Furthermore, the past use of arsenic-containing pesticides in rice crops has contributed to the residual presence of this heavy metal in the soil, which can promote the accumulation of arsenic in plants during growth.

Likewise, arsenic can contaminate rice fields through irrigation with water contaminated by industrial waste, fertilizers, or other sources of water pollution. Finally, during rice manufacturing processes, some practices can increase the arsenic content in the finished product, such as washing rice with contaminated water or storing it in containers that release arsenic.