Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Your Rice Safe?

Arsenic in Rice

Reports of arsenic in rice have alarmed consumers to the point that some are now not eating rice.  Unfortunately, rice is a great long-term storage item. It is the one food that is a staple world-wide. The more nutritious brown rice has even more arsenic because much of the concentration is found just under the husk which is not burnished off.
I discovered par-boiled brown rice has almost the same “keeping” quality of regular white rice so it seemed a good choice for prepping. The par-boiling process cuts the necessary cooking time so it conserves fuel which could be an issue in emergencies. 

I have not researched this issue completely, but what I did find published by The US Rice Commission at http://www.arsenicfacts.usarice.com provided a clearer picture of the situation. Frankly, the information was WAY over my head. It did help me understand why I had a problem with the “hype” about arsenic and rice. I figured that if arsenic was naturally occurring in soils and water, why aren’t ALL foods affected? Well, they are. The statistics on them have just not yet been widely publicized. People who are gluten intolerant consume much larger quantities of rice than others so this is an issue of concern. They may need to consider greatly increasing their selections of grains. However, those grains haven’t been scrutinized so carefully yet so they, too, could have high concentrations of arsenic.
The Rice Commission reports that no arsenic is used in fertilizers designed for rice growers. One of the ways arsenic gets in rice is through the absorption of the water used to flood the fields. Arsenic is naturally occurring in water but the concentrates rise due to run-off of fertilizers and chemicals we use in agriculture, industrial and home use. STILL, the EPA declares the levels are safe for human consumption. This is true for water and rice – white or brown. Arsenic levels are within acceptable ranges for every sample tested -- and they tested every variety of rice from every state and from each distribution center. Rice purchased from overseas was also tested. The variables seem to come from water sources in which the rice was grown.

It has been reported that about 30% of the arsenic in rice can be removed by rinsing it before cooking. Another way to lessen the amount of arsenic in rice is to cook it the way Asian people do rather than our American method of 1 cup of rice to 2 of water in which all the liquid is absorbed by the grains of rice. Asians use about 6 cups of water to 1 cup of rice and drain it prior to eating. This of course isn’t a great option if water shortages occur in emergencies.
So, what am I going to do? I am going to trust God’s faithfulness to His Word. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 clearly outlines the blessings that come with covenant with Almighty God. Jesus’ blood ratified that covenant for me so I could enjoy the benefits of being a child of God. My basket (of provision) is blessed. The bread that I knead is blessed. My storehouse is blessed and He insures that I have plenty of goods. He blesses the increase of my livestock and the produce of the ground. He opens His good treasures of heaven and gives rain in its proper season. Everything I put my hand to prospers. In addition, none of the diseases of Egypt (the world) will come on me. Mark 16:18 promises that if I drink anything poison or deadly, it will not harm me. I think I am covered.

I am going to rinse my rice and cook it in chicken broth as I’ve done for years and bless my food before I eat it.  I am going to continue to store rice and use it to feed those who neglected to be prudent and provide for themselves.
I suggest you do the research for yourselves – just Google Arsenic in Rice for information. My major concern with various publications is most seem to quote and reference the same primary source. I tend to lose confidence in single source conclusions. To our dismay, we have discovered that much of the “hype” concerning health risks from products originated from a competing industry and everybody got on a bandwagon headed in a wrong direction. Unfortunately correction only came years later after people had altered eating habits.

Let me know what you think.