What Parents Need to Know About Gerber's Rice Cereal
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is arsenic? How does it get into my food?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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