After releasing a report in 2012 that left several questions unanswered, Consumer Reports yesterday released an updated report on levels of arsenic in different kinds of rice, as well as other grains. Available both online and in the January 2015 magazine, the report finds that the source and type of rice matter, and that children are especially vulnerable to going over recommended arsenic levels, notes Consumer Reports. Combining findings from the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center, which tested 128 samples of white, basmati, and jasmine rice, with tests and data from the original 2012 study, as well as with data from tests performed by the FDA, the report takes 697 samples into account.
Among the key findings: Geography clearly affects levels of toxicity—basmati rice from California contains the lowest levels of arsenic, while Texas rice ranks among the highest. And because arsenic accumulates in the grain's outer layers, brown rice actually contains 80% more arsenic than white rice. While washing rice can remove some nutrients, it can also reduce up to 30% of the rice's arsenic. Other grains that take up less arsenic from soil include buckwheat, millet, barley, and farro. The report includes a point system people can follow for recommended weekly limits, while the FDA has yet to set safety levels for arsenic in rice. "Children younger than 5 should not drink rice drinks as a substitute for milk," one scientist tells Time. The FDA, meanwhile, says assessing arsenic in rice is a top priority. (Check out top takeaways from the 2012 report.)