Enriched rice may not be safe if you are avoiding wheat or corn in your diet. Wheat and Corn allergy sufferers need to be careful with the rice they buy. Most commercial brands are fortified with vitamins and minerals, also labeled “enriched”, and this is problematic for wheat allergy sufferers, but it is a double whammy for those that need to avoid corn too.
Enriched rice can often contain hidden wheat and hidden corn.
Enriched Rice Hidden Ingredients
For corn sufferers, ascorbic acid is one hidden ingredient in enriched rice. Ascorbic acid is derived from corn byproducts such as dextrose. It is used in the vitamin compounds sprayed on rice kernels to create enriched rice. To bind the vitamin compounds corn or wheat starches can also be used.
Although citric acid can be natural, there are no natural forms of ascorbic acid. Non-corn varieties are available on the market, but the majority of manufacturers take advantage of cost-effective dextrose. It should be noted that ascorbic acid is found in a variety of foods other than rice. Ascorbic acid can be found in fruit juices, jams, and medications. It also helps with keep foods green in color.
Wheat and Corn allergy sufferers that prefer to use enriched white rice should rinse at least 10 times prior to using it. Manufacturers generally use either wheat or corn byproducts as coating agents for the vitamin spraying process. But the best option is to buy organic varieties that are not enriched at all.
“various starches such as corn starch, potato starch, wheat starch and rice starch and cereal flours such as wheat flour and rice flour. These are used in the raw form. Preferred is wheat starch having a particle diameter not more than 10.mu., for the covering layer will then become dense and resistant against mechanical impacts” [Patent process for enriching rice or barley].
Where to Buy Rice that is not Enriched
Several varieties of natural organic rice are safe to use and widely available in several countries.
|Lundberg||Yoga Organic||Lotus Foods|
A Lundberg Farms spokesperson also says,
“We do NOT enrich any of our rice varieties. Our rice mill only mills rice so it is allergen free.”
The Yoga Organic company claims,
“Our organic rice is not enriched.”
Caryl Levine of Lotus Foods says,
“Our rice is allergy-free and not sprayed with anything. These are all heirloom varietals grown on small family farms in limited quantity.”
Gregg Massa of Massa Organics in Northern California says,
“Our rice is NOT vitamin enriched, or adulterated in any way. We do not farm corn or wheat, and the mill where our rice is hulled and packaged only deals with rice. Our rice IS high quality, non-GMO, organic brown rice, and tasty–many of our customers describe it as the best rice they have ever had.”
The key is to look for all natural, organic rice every time you shop, and when in doubt do a little research on the product that interests you.