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Children's rice milk has arsenic traces

PARENTS have been warned not to let their infants drink rice milk because of a danger of exposing them to arsenic, writes Caitrina Cody.

The findings of a recent study by the UK's Food Standards Agency reveal that in an examination of 60 samples of rice drinks, levels of inorganic arsenic were present in all of them.

In response, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) released a bulletin yesterday advising parents and medical practitioners to avoid using rice milk as a substitute for cow's milk, breast milk or infant formula. While the UK study shows that the levels of arsenic are below the legal limit for Ireland, the FSAI is warning that due to the large amounts of milk that young children drink relative to their body weight, they could potentially be exposed to higher amounts of arsenic than older children or adults. Dr Mary Flynn, the FSAI's chief specialist in public health nutrition, said that there is no immediate risk to children who have been drinking rice milk because levels of arsenic present are minuscule.

"Inorganic arsenic is present in many food products and it is generally of no danger because it is only present in trace amounts, well below the accepted limit," she said.

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