From David Mortazavi, Gerber spokesperson:
For more than 80 years, parents and caregivers have trusted Gerber to consistently provide high-quality, safe and nutritious products. We are committed to maintaining that trust.
All Gerber products are safe to consume, including Gerber rice cereal and Gerber SmartNourish organic brown rice cereal. All of the rice ingredients used in Gerber products are sourced from rice grown in the United States. Gerber monitors and controls for arsenic in our rice ingredients, as arsenic can occur naturally in rice through the growing process. Any ingredient that does not meet our high standards for quality is rejected. However, we recognize some consumers may have concerns about low levels of arsenic. Therefore, earlier this year, we decided to exclusively use California rice in the production of our rice-containing infant nutrition products. We made this decision because California rice has the lowest naturally occurring arsenic levels for rice grown in the United States.
It is important to recognize that some arsenic is unavoidable in the food supply because it naturally occurs in soil, air and water. As a result, low levels of this substance can be found in many nutritious foods and beverages. It is not possible to eliminate or avoid low levels of arsenic in food, but these low levels, measured in parts per billion (ppb), pose no health risk. To help provide context, one ‘part per billion’ is similar to a drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The FDA, the federal government agency responsible for protecting public health, has been monitoring arsenic in the US food supply for more than twenty years.1 Based on this monitoring, the FDA has indicated that typically low, naturally occurring levels of arsenic found in rice and rice-based products, including infant cereal, are not a food safety concern. Additionally, the FDA has consistently advised that families should not make dietary changes based on presence of the low levels of arsenic in foods.
Generations of babies have benefited from iron-fortified infant cereals that provide many important nutrients for infant development, particularly iron. Gerber infant rice cereals are a nutritious first solid food for babies starting around six months of age. Two daily servings of Gerber infant cereals provide 90 percent of baby’s daily iron needs as well as other essential vitamins and minerals including zinc and several B vitamins.
We encourage consumers to contact us if they have questions or concerns at 1-800-4-GERBER, or Gerber.com, any time, day or night.
From Kris Charles, Kellogg Company spokeswoman:
While we can’t comment on the report as we haven’t received a copy, we will work with the FDA, scientists, academics and others in the food industry to review the data. As has been known for decades, arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is present in most foods, including fruits, vegetables, poultry, rice and even drinking water. Experts continue to suggest eating a varied and well-balanced diet.
From Molly Snyder, Target spokesperson (maker of Archer Farms Rice):
Food safety and quality are a top priority at Target. We take feedback about the safety of our products very seriously and remain committed to offering products that meet or exceed all applicable regulatory standards and requirements. Since we have not yet seen the report we are unable to comment further at this time.
From Pam Krebs, Mars Food spokesperson (maker of Uncle Ben’s Rice):
Since we have not yet seen the Consumer Reports data, we are unable to comment specifically about any of their results. However, what we can tell you is that no scientific study has ever linked U.S. rice consumption with adverse health effects from arsenic, nor have arsenic-related health effects been reported among global populations with high rice consumption. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is present in soil, water, air, and food and humans have been exposed to trace levels of arsenic from food for thousands of years. Rice is a nutritious food and is a basic staple in diets for many people around the world, including many American consumers. It has been produced and consumed in the United States for more than 300 years, and has never been linked with adverse health effects.