By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
Published: 17:13 BST, 1 May 2020 | Updated: 17:13 BST, 1 May 2020
Half of the rice varieties sold in the UK have arsenic levels that exceed the safe limits for infants and children, a damning study reveals.
A total of 28 out of 55 varieties included in a study by the University of Sheffield breached the 0.1mg per kg limit laid out by the EU, to which the UK adheres.
Among the offending varieties are brown and organic rice, widely believed to be healthier than the alternatives.
The toxic chemical gathers naturally in the crop and has been linked to illness, dietary-related cancers and liver disease. In serious cases, it can result in death.
The researchers say caution should be used when feeding rice to children, and parents should feed their infants no more than 20g a day of these 28 varieties.
These include everything from wild, long-grain rice to non-organic, long-grain brown rice from Italy. The researchers did not reveal the manufactures of the varieties that exceeded the arsenic levels in their study.
Scientists are now calling for improved labelling to clarify whether a specific brand and type of rice is safe for consumption by babies and children under five.
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A total of 28 out of 55 varieties included in a study conducted by the University of Sheffield breached the 0.1 mg kg−1 limit laid out by the EU, to which the UK adheres (stock)
Rice can contain small amounts of arsenic, which in large doses is a toxin linked to multiple health conditions and dietary-related cancers.
Arsenic occurs naturally in the soil, though its concentration is higher in areas that have historically used arsenic-based herbicides or where irrigation water contains arsenic.
When farmers grow crops like rice under flooded conditions, arsenic is drawn out of the soil and into the water.
A rice plant is like a big tube or a