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Experts Raise Red Flags About Baby Foods Made With Rice

As if new parent's didn't have enough to worry about, now experts have new warnings about baby foods made with rice.

While rice is healthy, cheap, and found in lots of foods for infants and toddlers, there are already a number of health concerns about the crop. Unlike other grains, rice is grown in paddies flooded with water, which makes it easier for pesticides and toxins to absorb into the rice and its byproducts.

The FDA has already warned about the levels of toxic metals and even cyanide found in rice, but now a new study is highlighting the levels of mercury in the grain. Mercury poisoning is a risk usually associated with eating fish, but the methylmercury that causes it can also be found in rice.

Now, a new study led by the Florida International University published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry says that the amount of methylmercury in rice cereals for babies is cause for concern.

Tests show the average levels of mercury in baby foods made from rice are three times higher than whole grain foods, and a stunning 19 times higher than foods made with other grains.

Because of these findings, health experts have new recommendations that all parents should read...

While experts aren't recommending you cut rice products out of your baby's diet, they have some important recommendations.

Health experts agree that cutting down on the amount of rice products in your baby's diet is a good start. All of the products tested in the new study were within the FDA's acceptable level for mercury, but now that the agency realizes just how much mercury is in baby foods, they may rethink those "safe" levels.

The agency was already warning breastfeeding mothers to be aware of how much fish they were eating, and recommend that young children should avoid certain types of mercury-dense fish entirely. Now parents may want to keep an eye on how much rice is in their baby's diet as well.

Mercury poisoning causes nervous system damage, including a number of nasty symptoms like weakness, hearing and vision loss and loss of feeling in your hands and feet.

To make sure your baby's diet is healthy and safe, experts recommend limiting rice cereal to 1/4 cup each day, and substituting other iron-fortified foods made from oats, barley and wheat. Not only will this limit your child's mercury intake, it also helps them get the right mix of vitamins and nutrients.

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[H/T: Consumer Reports]