(NEXSTAR) – Baby food manufacturer Beech-Nut is voluntarily recalling a lot of infant rice cereal after routine sampling in Alaska revealed inorganic arsenic levels above the FDA’s guidance level. The company also announced they will stop manufacturing the product, Stage 1, Single Grain Rice Cereal, out of concern that they won’t be able to consistently secure rice flour that is well below that level.
The recalled cereal canisters, sold nationally in stores and online, have an expiration date of May 01, 2022 and the following product codes located on the bottom of the items: 103470XXXX and 093470XXXX. The Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice item has a UPC code of #52200034705.
While arsenic and other trace elements can be detected in water, soil and food, elevated levels of the heavy metal have been found to be harmful to brain development in children.
In 2020, the FDA finalized a voluntary limit for arsenic content in infant rice cereal at 100 parts per billion. Rice is especially susceptible to high levels of inorganic arsenic – which is more toxic than organic arsenic – in part because it soaks it up from the water it grows in, according to the FDA.
“The safety of infants and children is Beech-Nut’s top priority. We are issuing this voluntary recall, because we learned through routine sampling by the State of Alaska that a limited quantity of Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal products had levels of naturally-occurring inorganic arsenic above the FDA guidance level, even though the rice flour used to produce these products tested below the FDA guidance level for inorganic arsenic,” Jason Jacobs, Vice President, Food Safety and Quality, said in a news release.
No illnesses have been reported and no other lots of Beech-Nut products are affected by the recall.
Anyone who bought the cereal under recall should throw it away. For refund information, consumers can go to www.beechnut.com/ricecereal, or call 1-866-272-9417.
What food should I feed my baby?
The FDA recommends that parents and caregivers should feed their babies a variety of iron-fortified infant cereals which can also include oat, barley and multigrain, not just rice.
Toddlers need a well-balanced diet with a variety of grains, and pregnant women should also vary the food – and grains – that they eat, the FDA recommends.
When preparing rice, research shows that cooking rice in excess water – upping the 6-1 ration to 10-1, for instance – can reduce the level of inorganic arsenic content between 40 and 60 percent, but it may also remove nutrients.
For the general population, the FDA said there was no scientific or public health reason to change rice consumption based on the presence of arsenic.