Arsenic and Old Rice: A Comedy of Errors (that isn’t very funny)

"Say WHAT?!" --Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace

I’ll never forget when an English teacher introduced me to the film, Arsenic and Old Lace, featuring Cary Grant. Not only did I learn about the intricacies of staged comedy, but the dangers of arsenic were burned into my brain. (How else would a 14 year old be introduced to the word arsenic?) The word arsenic has appeared, once again, in my lexicon, but this time it’s no laughfest. Read this clearly:

Certain products containing ORGANIC BROWN RICE SYRUP as a major ingredient have been found to contain high levels of cancer-causing inorganic arsenic.

This conclusion came as a result of a Dartmouth study on a number of commercially-produced items like toddler formula, energy bars, and other high-energy foods used by athletes. Organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) is commonly used as a sugar substitute; I have seen it in many products from organic soy and almond milks to cereals. (Note: those products were not included in the study.) It seems now that this once-healthy alternative can be considered the same as the arsenic it contains: “human poison.”

Anna Hackman of Green Talk has been investigating this issue in depth, finding that the rice industry has been aware of the presence of arsenic for years, despite also being aware of methods to avoid contamination. Brown rice syrup becomes toxic because it is so concentrated. I urge you to read Anna’s findings in her first post on the study and get some tips on avoiding arsenic in your rice.

Read enough already? Sign the petition Anna’s created on asking the FDA and the EU to create guidelines for how our food is treated. Please sign it, share it, post it, Tweet it, and talk about it! Every time we address dangers like these, we are one step closer to reclaiming our food supply.

Think about it: Those with gluten sensitivities, those who eat rice as a large part of their diet (like me!), and CHILDREN are at risk here.

From Arsenic and Old Lace
Mortimer Brewster: Aunt Abby, how can I believe you? There are twelve men down in the cellar and you admit you poisoned them.
Aunt Abby Brewster: Yes, I did. But you don’t think I’d stoop to telling a fib

Let’s not be lied to any longer.

Do you use any products containing OBRS?

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6 Responses to Arsenic and Old Rice: A Comedy of Errors (that isn’t very funny)

  1. Anna@GreenTalk March 14, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    I love your title. Thank you so much for sharing my articles with your readers. I happen to eat alot of rice alternative due to my milk allergies. My boys love Cliff bars which contain OBRS. So, I wasn’t the happiest of campers.

  2. Brenna @ Almost All The Truth March 20, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I love the title too. I do hope that people will realize that there is something we, and the rice industry, can do.

  3. Small Footprints March 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Wow … this is the first that I’ve heard of this … thank you so much! I’m a devout label-reader so I’ll be watching out for this. Years ago, I saw a program about brown rice syrup … so I decided to try it as an alternative to sugar. But when I tasted it, the flavor was like medicine. So now I’m wondering if I was tasting the arsenic. Well, either way, I’ll be avoiding it in the future.

    A link to this post was added to my Meet & Greet Linky ( :-)

  4. argentumvulgaris March 21, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    I too was surprised at this, incredible. Tweeted. Came from Meet & Great.



  1. Latest in Health & Nutrition: 3/19-3/23 - March 23, 2012

    [...] Did you catch the story on arsenic in brown rice? Read my post and sign the petition HERE [...]

  2. Sugar is Toxic: Get the Facts and the Solutions - April 23, 2012

    [...] Don’t be fooled by terms like “organic cane sugar,” “raw sugar,” or “brown rice syrup,” as these terms are simply more “natural”-sounding names for SUGAR. True, they may be in a less-processed state than white sugar, but they behave the same within the body. Scary truth: brown rice syrup (found in many energy bars and gluten-free foods) has been found to contain arsenic! [...]

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