The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today reiterates its advice that infants and young children up to 4.5 years old should not consume rice milk as substitutes for cows’ milk, breast milk or infant formula. The FSAI previously provided warnings on the dangers of such products due to findings that indicated that there are low levels of inorganic arsenic found in rice milk. It has come to the FSAI’s attention that a rice-based infant and follow-on formula, Prémibio Prémiriz is available to buy online via a co.uk website.
Such infant formulas are not legally permitted to be sold on the European market, as they do not meet the legal compositional and nutritional requirements for infants. The FSAI is in contact with authorities in the UK and other Member States to discontinue the sale of this product in Europe from this website. The FSAI is contacting the relevant hospitals and public health professionals to inform them of these online sales.
According to Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI this product should not be placed on the European market.
“Rice-based infant formula and follow-on formula are not legally permitted to be sold on the European market, as they do not meet infants’ nutritional requirements. Also, there is a concern around the inorganic arsenic content of rice-based products intended for young children. The FSAI is aware from published studies that low levels of inorganic arsenic have been detected in rice milk in the past and the recommendation is that infants and young children up to 4.5 years are not exposed to these products.
Arsenic is present in the environment and, therefore, can be present in a range of foods, including rice, at low levels. The toxicity of arsenic depends on the form in which it is present, this being either organic or inorganic. The inorganic form is the more toxic form and the FSAI states that exposure to this should be kept as low as reasonably practicable. As a precaution, to reduce exposure to inorganic arsenic, parents and guardians should not give these foods to infants and young children up to 4.5 years,” said Dr Byrne.