Wednesday 17 January 2018

Irish researchers discover simple solution to worrying levels of arsenic in our rice

Queen’s University in Belfast
Queen’s University in Belfast

Rab Kassie Sheeran

"Rice is by far our dominant source of inorganic arsenic," says a professor at Queen’s University Belfast.

Too much arsenic is associated with a range of health problems including, at worst, bladder and lung cancer.

Rice is the only major crop grown under flooded conditions. It is this flooding that releases inorganic arsenic, normally locked up in soil minerals, which is then absorbed by the plant.

Washing and boiling rice in a pan will not remove the toxin; this only re-infuses it after the water has evaporated.

Research done at Queen’s concluded that by cooking rice in the filter of a coffee percolator could reduce the arsenic content greatly. Scientists reported that it took 20 minutes to cook white rice and 40 minutes to cook brown rice by this method.

Researchers at Queen’s are currently developing rice percolator cookers more suited to preparing rice.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency states children under 4 and half years old shouldn’t be fed rice milk as an alternative.

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