Aresenic in my Rice Dream?

With dietary limitations, you come to count on certain products if only because they are are the only options available.  Rice milk and rice products have been mainstays for us for over 6 years now.

We drink rice milk, use products with rice syrup, eat rice noodles, rice crackers… rice – rice and more rice.  When the first reports came out about the arsenic – I was alarmed but then continued on – somehow blocking it out.  Part of me just couldn’t deal with taking it out of the diet.  Then more articles came out and I have decided to cut our rice consumption way down – eliminating rice milk and rice as much as possible.

I called the Rice Dream makers to ask what testings or protections they have in place to deal with the arsenic contamination.  Here is the response I got – after many  many minutes (like 12) on hold:

So Hain Celestial DOES NOT TEST its product.  They are standing behind their products and they consider them safe.  My question – is how do they know that their rice milk is safe?  Seems more like they are ignoring – and just not dealing with it until they are forced.  And we all know how long that could take especially given that there are no regulations on arsenic levels in food (as far as I can tell).

My point is I pay on average $8.00/gallon for Rice Dream.  This is premium stuff.  And the operator, nice as pie, only had the company line about – the report being recent, the FDA not recommending any recalls, the company standing behind the product, the naturally occurring arsenic in the soil (not the problem)  – but the bottom line is for $8/gallon Celestial Hains does  NOT TEST THEIR PRODUCT.  I don’t care about what the FDA says and whether or not they are being forced to recall or test.  I care that I pay a premium and I am getting a cheap unreliable product.

If you are going to charge a premium price – behave like a premium product – or else let’s pay what it’s really worth (if you want to chance it) – $.99/gallon seems more reasonable to me.  

In the meantime, I will be returning all my Rice Dream products and not buying any more.  Lundberg rice – on the other hand – has a plan for testing and has admitted to the levels found in their rice matching the EPA test results.  While I will continue to keep rice peripheral in our diet – I appreciate their effort and openness.  Although best case scenario I’d like to see is figuring out how to get the arsenic out of the soil so that rice is safer.

October 24, 2012

I did find a report of results of arsenic in rice products.  You can see what they tested and what the results are.  Sadly, rice dream, which I am horrified to think since my son drank lots of it in the last 5-6 years, is not recommended for children to drink at all.  So, if you are reading this and giving rice dream to your children – STOP.  We stopped all rice products about a month ago.  It’s meant increased quinoa, wheat, and potato (not so in love with the wheat).  But with our limited diet – we are  not left with many options yet. 

On a high note.  Interesting article that warrants further study – linked elevated arsenic levels in children with allergy issues.  The children were detoxed using ALA (alpha lipoic acid) and other supplements.  After the detox, the allergic symptoms subsided, resistance to infection went up, basically the immune system somewhat rebalanced itself. 

Here is the link:  Alpha Lipoic Acid, A Novel Therapeutic Agent for Intervention of Childhood Allergies. 

I am now keeping ALA on my radar.  And I plan on getting  a heavy metal test done on my son – in the coming months.  An ALA detox is not something I would like to embark on without a trusted professional.  Further research necessary. 

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