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What Parents Need to Know About Gerber's Rice Cereal 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is arsenic? How does it get into my food?

A: Arsenic is an element naturally present at varying levels in soil, air and water, and it is possible that small amounts, measured in parts per billion (ppb), may be found in many foods including produce and grains. Low levels can get into rice through absorption from soil and water as the grain grows.

Knowing that this element can occur naturally in rice, Gerber has taken steps to reduce the level in our rice ingredients. We’ve worked closely with our trusted rice supplier, their growers and university agricultural researchers to improve farming methods and we select rice that has among the lowest levels in the nation. Parents can be reassured that our infant rice cereals already meet the FDA proposed guidance level

Q: Is it possible for Gerber to remove the arsenic from infant rice cereal?

A: Since arsenic is a naturally occurring element commonly found in the environment, including in soil and water, it is unlikely it will ever be able to be completely removed from rice. But at Gerber, we always use safe and nutritious ingredients for your baby. We have taken steps to reduce the level in our rice ingredients. We are confident in the safety of every package of Gerber infant rice cereals.

Q: Is any rice arsenic free?

A: We are not aware of any sources of rice that would consistently contain undetectable amounts of arsenic.

Q: Can you explain what 100 parts-per-billion means?

A: Parts per billion (ppb) is a commonly-used unit of concentration for very small values. One part per billion (ppb) denotes one part per 1,000,000,000 parts. To provide context, one ‘part per billion’ is similar to a 1/2 teaspoon of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool (600,000 gallons), 1 inch in 16,000 miles, or 1 second in 32 years.

Q: What if I’m already feeding my baby infant rice cereal?

A: Please be assured that all Gerber infant rice cereals are safe and have always been safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to feed babies a well-balanced diet that includes iron-rich infant cereal from a variety of grains. You can continue feeding your baby two servings of infant cereal a day, which provides your baby with 90% of her iron needs. Iron-rich infant cereal is important to support your baby’s healthy growth and development.

Q: Does my baby even need to eat infant rice cereal? What alternative foods can I feed my baby?

A: While rice cereal is a traditional first solid food, you can start with another single-grain infant cereal such as oatmeal.  Iron rich infant cereals are an important part of a baby’s diet since starting around six months of age, the iron stored in baby’s body does not sufficiently meet her growing need and a supplemental source of iron is needed. Iron-fortified infant rice cereal is one option to help ensure baby receives enough iron which helps support baby’s overall health, in addition to brain development. We encourage families to offer baby iron-rich infant cereals from a variety of grains such as oatmeal, multigrain and wheat in addition to or instead of infant rice cereal. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports these options, along with meats, as part of a varied diet for baby.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the FDA’s announcement please call our Parents Resource Center anytime. We’re awake when you are 24/7: 1-800-487-7763.