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flo's avatar

How do they make less healthy rice look like brown rice and is it not illegal?

Asked by flo (12974points) February 25th, 2015

Edited: The rice just says “parboiled rice” is somehow made to look brown like the healthy kind. Is it not fraud, even if wiser people do read the labels and ingredients?

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24 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

Unless the label says “brown rice” when it’s not brown rice, then I don’t see how it could possibly be construed as fraud. It says “parboiled,” therefore anyone should know it may not be brown rice, regardless of color.

Also, there isn’t much of a nutritional difference between brown and white rice. I’d hardly call it the “healthy” rice.

flo's avatar

It would be more of a fraud if they labelled it “brown rice” when it is not. But going out of one’s way to make it look like the healthier kind is fraud too just more sneaky. We’re talking about health, not fashion items or things like that.

Coloma's avatar

@flo Maybe you should volunteer to be the rice police in your local grocery store. haha
I’m sorry, but rice fraud is just, well, too inanely irresistible to not make/take a crack at.
Halt! Put your hands behind your head and step away from the rice maam!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@flo I seriously doubt anyone’s health would be affected enough by this rice to warrant any action here. Come on…

I’m now thinking you may be joking. I hope so.

flo's avatar

I’ve heard that some bakers use food coloring to make white bread look like whole grain bread, as people call it “brown bread”.

gailcalled's avatar

All rice contains arsenic so it’s best to find other grains.

“Consumer Reports recommends reducing rice consumption. Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, and manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, agrees, telling Yahoo Health, “Arsenic has been found to be a toxic and carcinogenic substance. Of course the amount matters, but until we have more research, limiting rice intake may be an easy thing to do for the majority of the population.”

flo's avatar

I’ve heard that too, @gailcalled But what is the replacement for rice? It is so all over the place and not expensive.

livelaughlove21's avatar

“A study team at the Harvard School of Public Health recently found that eating five servings per week of white rice increased the risk of diabetes. They also found that replacing white rice with brown rice lowered the risk.”

1. Five servings a week? Who does that?
2. Lowered the to what/by how much?

Crappy source of information. My response stands.

JLeslie's avatar

My mom says the Chinese eat white rice in larger quantities than Americans and they live longer. That’s proof for her that it’s ok to eat white rice. LOL. She also says the brown whole grain has more arsenic, so she goes right ahead and eats her white rice. She does everything in moderation she doesn’t eat rice every day. Tuna only once a week (mercury concerns). The exception is chocolate; she has chocolate daily.

I don’t think it’s fraud to call it brown rice, but I do think there is some deception with the entire whole wheat, whole grain, brown situation.

ibstubro's avatar

@flo, Have you seen this story about fish labeling? It might give you an idea of just how concerned the government is about someone making rice “appear” to be brown. Even American food has little enforced regulation beyond preventing it from making you sick.

I had a good chuckle at the ‘Arsenic and Old Rice”. Millions of Asians eat rice 3 meals a day, 7 days a week and have done so for centuries.
News Flash! Consumer Reports “Arsenic has been found to be a toxic and carcinogenic substance.” Oh, he horror!

CWOTUS's avatar

As a voice against overblown concern about arsenic in foods, I would like to point out that it is only recently that instrumentation has been developed that can even detect arsenic and other toxins and carcinogens at the single-digit-per-billion level.

To put that in perspective, rice is rice and hasn’t changed greatly in the centuries that mankind has been consuming it. It takes up arsenic from the ground just as all other ground-growing things do, and as it has done forever. Only recently, though, we have developed instrumentation with the sensitivity to detect the minuscule levels of arsenic that are present. So now it’s a concern? I don’t think so.

I enjoy rice frequently and will continue to do so, unaffected by this issue.

As to the OP’s question: Where have you been? Parboiled rice has been available as a common shelf item (Uncle Ben’s and other brands) for as long as I’ve known there has been rice on grocery store shelves. If it’s sold as “brown rice”, then that might be a potential fraud, I suppose. But if it’s just brown in color (as most parboiled rice is when sold in bulk) and merely advertised as “healthy”, then where is the fraud?

thorninmud's avatar

Parboiled rice is browner in color than other white rice simply because the grains are briefly boiled while the husk (bran) is still on the grain. This causes some of the nutrients and some of the color of the husk to leach into the kernel (and also decreases the cooking time of the rice). There is a health benefit to parboiling, since you’re getting more of the vitamins that were in the husk than you would in rice that was polished (de-husked) without parboiling. The darker color is just a natural result of the process, not an attempt to make it look healthier.

flo's avatar

Thanks all. A lot to chew on.
@thorninmud You hit the nail on the head. If you can give me the link (someone is going to ask me “what’s your source @flo?” when I tell them.) that would be much appreciated.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie I white rice is processed refine lots of the healthy stuff is removed isn’t that what they all agreee on?

@ibstubro Too bad isn’t that there isn’t jail time or something, for those in your post.
@CWOTUS As long as no one is doing anyting to be deceptive no problem. Re. the arsenic you have a point.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo I think they agree it slows the glucose being delivered into your blood stream and adds fiber. If it’s actually whole grain. If it’s just brown, that’s a different thing.

flo's avatar

Yes, I agree.
Re. the Chinese, I guess they’ve been eating other things that compensate for the unhealthiess of the white rice.

Coloma's avatar

@flo Like lots of fish and seaweed. Hey, asians eat so MUCH, but it is all pretty healthy. They can out away huge rice bowls and noodle bowls with fish and veggies in one sitting. They also walk a lot.

flo's avatar

But now they are eating more and more processed food, too bad.

livelaughlove21's avatar

“Processed food.” I’ll take grossly overused phrases for 500, Alex.

JLeslie's avatar

The Asians eat much less food than Americans. When I was in Japan the portions were smaller.

thorninmud's avatar

@flo I don’t have a specific source; it’s just information I’ve gathered over time, but much of it seems to be covered in this Wikipedia entry

flo's avatar

@JLeslie America takes the prize when it comes the largest portions.
@thorninmud Thank you

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