Rice and rice-based products are commonly given to babies who have been weaned of breast milk as well as young children under the age of five, since rice is nutritious and these products are easily available. However, rice has inorganic arsenic that is ten times higher than other foods, and long-term exposure to arsenic can pose several health risks to children’s IQ development and growth. European Union has, therefore, in January 2016 imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers producing rice-based baby food. Despite the ban, researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's found that 50 per cent of baby food still contains high level of inorganic arsenic. According to Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen's, “Simple measures can be taken to dramatically reduce the arsenic in these products so there is no excuse for manufacturers to be selling baby food products with such harmful levels of this carcinogenic substance.” He believes that manufactures should be held accountable for not meeting EU’s standards and that the product label should mention the amount of arsenic present in it.
Read more in Science Daily.