Maple Island Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of three lots of its Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal that it manufactures for Walmart, according to the federal Food & Drug Administration.
The recalled infant cereal was distributed nationally through Walmart stores and online. No illnesses related to the product lots have been reported to date and no other production lots or Parent’s Choice products are affected by this recall.
Walmart was advised and has pulled the product from its store shelves and put a register block on the product at its stores and online to prevent any further sales.
The recall is a result of a routine sampling program by the FDA which found that a sample from three production lots of Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal tested above the guidance for naturally-occurring inorganic arsenic.
The specific Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal eight-ounce lots being recalled were sold after April 5, 2021, and include:
- Lot 21083 with UPC Code #00681131082907 with a best if used by date of JUN 24 2022.
- Lot 21084 with UPC Code #00681131082907 with a best if used by date of JUN 25 2022
- Lot 21242 with UPC Code #00681131082907 with a best if used by date of NOV 30 2022
The best if used by date and product numbers can be found in the bottom left corner on the back of the Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal packaging.
Dawn Nelson, toxicologist with the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services, said in a news release on Friday that it’s important to put the recall into context. She said arsenic occurs naturally in the environment and people are exposed to small amounts in food, soil, and water. Rice plants tend to absorb arsenic naturally in soil more than other crops and is a highly consumed food worldwide, especially in cereals for infants.
However, she said the main concern is if only infant rice cereal is provided, there is a risk for babies to be overexposed to arsenic as they consume about three times more rice than adults relative to their body weight. And, arsenic has been linked with neurodevelopmental effects in early childhood.
“This is why the FDA prioritizes monitoring and regulating products that are more likely to be consumed by very young children,” Nelson said.
The FDA guidance of 100 ppb action level is based on reducing average naturally occurring concentrations of arsenic in rice and rice products (104 ppb for white rice cereal and 119 ppb for brown rice cereal) by 20-30%. The FDA considers this protective of public health by reducing infants’ dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic.
“Parents can also do their part to reduce dietary arsenic exposure to infants by offering cereals made with a variety of grains, not only rice,” Nelson said. “Rice cereal fortified with iron is a good source of nutrients but shouldn’t be the only source. As with any diet, eating a variety of foods is important for nutritional balance.”
Customers who bought Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal at Walmart with Lot Number 21083/UPC Code #00681131082907 and best if used by date of JUN 24 2022, Lot Number 21084/UPC Code #00681131082907 and best if used by date of JUN 25 2022, or Lot 21242 with UPC Code #00681131082907 with a best if used by date of NOV 30 2022 should discard the product or return it to Walmart for a full refund. Customers seeking additional information may call Maple Island Inc., Monday through Friday 8am – 4pm Central time at 1-800-369-1022 or contact the company by email at email@example.com.
Maple Island Inc. conducted testing on both the raw material and finished product in question. While the test results were in compliance with the FDA’s guidelines, Maple Island Inc. is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution. FDA has recognized that trace elements such as these are widely present in the environment, including water, soil and food. The FDA also noted that research has shown reducing exposure to toxic elements is important to minimizing any potential long-term effects on the developing brains of infants and children.