Arsenic in Organic Food

Organic does not mean safe.

Organic—like any brand-name or celebrity endorsement—has become a stamp of approval, a thumbs-up to consumers. It has allowed the customer to quickly categorize the hundreds of products that line store shelves: good and bad, organic and conventional. Many consumers feel they are making an educated decision, but research shows that the issue of organic vs. conventional is more complex than consumers are lead to believe.

A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has shown that this quick, easy way of categorizing food is not always accurate. The study has received a lot of publicity, including an article by ABC News and the following video by Newsy:

To sum it up, the researchers at Dartmouth College have discovered that organic brown rice syrup may contain high levels of arsenic. This syrup is frequently used as a healthier, alternative sweetener in organic foods such as baby milk formulas, cereal bars and high energy performance products for athletes. Many of the products containing organic brown rice also contained significant levels of arsenic, up to 12 times the legal limit.

Now, the video points out that it’s possible that arsenic-containing-products are not consumed enough to make it dangerous. And that may be, but do we know? Don’t assume organic means safe. Check the labels, look at the research available and insist that further research be done. With research, there can be regulations. Regulations do not guarantee safety, but they are one step closer.


About samlaineperfas

Sam Laine Perfas is a Minnesota farm expat who now resides in Somerville, Mass. She is currently working in Boston as a journalist and audio producer. Realizing that a reporter’s brain never fully shuts off, she undertook blogging as a way to share her thoughts, observations, and snapshots as a reporter when she is off the clock and simply living life. View all posts by samlaineperfas

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