Is your rice slowly poisoning you? How to reduce arsenic levels in your rice

I make a fair amount of pulao rice and a rice cooker won’t do that for me!

Depends on what spices etc I have to hand but I generally follow an old Madhur Jafrey recipe someone gave me. She is quite insistent that multiple washes are required but, from memory she says to make it not stick and be fluffy, but I know you don’t need to wash to do that.

In future I will return to washing a lot.

Are lentils similar?

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As far as i know lentils don’t need any soaking like beans do, but at least a quick wash is good.


I meant is the washing supposed to lower poison. Just red lentils take as much washing as basmati rice.

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Previous research has shown rinsing has little impact on arsenic levels in rice, most public health and food regulators recommend immersion cooking.

But the other end of it is that most arsenic in rice is the result of soil deposits, rather than pollution. And problematic levels are kinda regionally bound, and tends to get excluded from markets in developed countries. So those same regulators limit their consumer guidelines to infants and toddlers. Limit rice consumption, cook by immersion. The main issue in the US and Europe is rice based infant cereal and formulas.

5 parts water to 1 part rice?

It’s badly worded, but it says “with the excess water washed off”. So remove the excess.

They seem to basically be soaking over night instead of cooking by immersing it in a large amount of water and straining. Which is the usual recommendation for reducing arsenic.

Unless they’re cooking in all that water, and straining after. In which case they just “discovered” the existing recommendation from every public health organization on the planet.


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I mean afaict it’s legal to poison the water anyway now so fuck it why worry about a slow rice death this late in the game?


I do that in a rice cooker all the time. You just saute things and toast the rice in a pan then add them to the rice cooker with the liquid.

Mine even has a crispy bottom setting.

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Speaking of ‘food safety’…

(source: Business Insider)

China is freaking out after discovering the ‘open secret’ that its cooking oil was ferried for years in chemical tanks that weren’t cleaned

  • China was hit by another major food scandal, this time involving cooking oil in chemical tanks.
  • State media found that tank trucks were delivering chemicals and edible oil interchangeably without cleaning.
  • The revelation ignited an explosion of backlash from the Chinese public this week and calls for investigations.

A new cooking oil scandal has erupted in China, about a decade after the country’s infamous crackdown on restaurants reusing gutter oil and sewage grease.

The furor follows a bombshell investigation published on July 2 by state media outlet Beijing News, which found multiple cases of tank trucks transporting edible cooking oil immediately after delivering chemicals used for coal-to-liquid processing.

The report’s author, Han Futao, found that none of the tank interiors were cleaned between loads.

Han described one case in which a tank truck in Hebei province delivered chemicals in Qinhuangdao before rushing to Sanhe days later to be filled with soy oil.

Several truck drivers told Beijing News the practice was a widespread cost-saving measure used by firms with thousands of trucks — an “open secret” in the industry, as Han wrote.

In some seasons, the truckers said, drivers would transport industrial wastewater before delivering edible oils.

These chemicals aren’t classified as flammable or hazardous, or Chinese law would mandate that they be transported in special tanks.

But the report has since ignited outrage on China’s social media platforms, which have become inundated with viral topics discussing the scandal.

National regulations have been a key target for public anger. They recommend that oil companies only use tank trucks dedicated to edible substances, but the guideline is only encouraged and isn’t mandatory.

“Shouldn’t a kerosene can be a kerosene can and a cooking oil can be a cooking oil can? Even if they are cleaned, they are not necessarily that clean,” said one top comment on Weibo, China’s version of X.

The backlash ballooned even further when people began reposting regulatory warnings from 2013 about the practice in Hunan province, indicating its use for more than a decade.

A 2005 local news report describing the mixing of edible oils with “hazardous chemicals” during transport went viral, too.

“They’ve been caught before, but the problem persists. Is the punishment harsh enough?” one blogger wrote.

“19 years ago, the media reported that the tanks were mixed with food. Why hasn’t it been solved yet?” wrote another.

Days after Beijing News’ report, state media jumped in with scathing commentary.

“If this is an ‘open secret in the industry,’ where does it put the public’s health and life safety? Where does it put the dignity and justice of the law?” wrote People’s Daily columnist Zhang Jingshan on Monday evening.

Sinograin, a state body that oversees China’s grain and oil stocks, published a statement on Saturday saying it had launched an investigation into the “mixed-use of tank trucks.”

But the statement has been followed by calls online for a wider investigation involving higher authorities.

“Checking your own unit is like covering your ears while stealing a bell,” wrote one blogger demanding an explanation. “This needs the attention of the relevant departments. Food is a major issue of people’s livelihoods and shouldn’t be underestimated!”

Food safety in China has already been sensitive for years, in the wake of multiple scandals involving gutter oil and deadly chemicals in baby milk powder.

The repeated controversies have contributed to growing distrust in cities toward commercially sold foods in supermarkets and grocery stores, sparking a campaign by the central government to promote food safety in the country.

If you enjoyed this story, be sure to follow Business Insider on Microsoft Start.


And be sure not to serve it on your lovely vintage crockery.


One of the good things about pulao (one of the other good things is that according to other research from Queen’s - Belfast, not New York - part cooking your rice until translucent in fat before adding liquid lowers its GI) is that while you have to cook, after that you just chuck in your stock, stir it to loosen the bottom, and turn it down. When it boils you cover and turn off. So I’m not seeing a lot of hassle saved when you transfer it to another pot. Other than covering.
You’ve already done all of the work by the time you put in the liquid.

It’s mostly in not having to watch it, and doing a better job cooking the rice than a mere human can.

Like the uptick in how nice the rice is from a rice cooker is hard to describe, but I was real good at cooking rice. And I can’t do it as well, as consistently as that machine does.

part cooking your rice until translucent in fat before adding liquid lowers its GI

That makes sense. It destroys/removes the exterior starch and converts other starch similar to cooking. The main reason it’s done in pilaf method recipes is to remove that starch, and it’s better at that than rinsing generally.

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Rice seems to be a health risk, considering the media coverage on arsenic (as stated above, from soil, not from pollution, and rinsing won’t help), on Bacillus cereus (store your leftovers in the fridge, or you might get sick), and on low vitamin A.

Well, billions of people are dependant on rice, so some reporting on health risks is prudent, I assume?
Good thing noone is prone to panicking, right?

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The pollution/ pesticides thing is a factor it’s just not the main one. And part of it is rice as a plant is particularly good at bio-accumulating arsenic.

But the thing with it mostly being soil deposits is that shouldn’t be a problem.

Except we gave up on crop rotation, and haven’t shifted off production in high arsenic areas.

Some of the places with the worse issues on this are in the US, certain bands of Texas and Arkansas.

The rice paddy system really will concentrate that stuff over time too. Especially when water is captured and recirculated.

For the noise though. It’s not a serious health risk.

Most places there’s no rash of arsenic poisoning or long term health impacts in most parts of the world.

There’s specific problems in developing countries with very limited access to other rice markets, limited regulation, and bad soil problems.

And there’s issues with processed goods where sourcing isn’t clear. Like that infant cereal.

And there’s indefensible shit like a huge portion of Texas grown rice being not fit for the US market, and getting sold in developing countries instead.

But in most markets. It’s easy enough to limit risk. You avoid certain sources, which are generally fairly limited since regulators regularly test. And not generally what you think. Lime Arkansas grown rice is far worse than Indian grown.

Watch out for processed products with a lot of rice in them.

And you get into the immersion cooking and watching it when there young kids involved. Or it you have other arsenic sources involved.

Like if you have high arsenic water? You should probably worry about this more than I do.

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