Arsenic in Seaweed

Topics: Sushi, Nutrition, Wakame Pages: 2 (525 words) Published: April 22, 2013
Having worked in the restaurant industry for the better part of the past four years, I am familiar with the standards that the food products must meet in order to be prepared and presented to customers. There are institutions throughout the world whose specific jobs deal with monitoring the quality of the food being distributed to the masses. Naturally, many products differ on their toxicity and nutritious values depending on the region where they came from and the manner in which they were grown or raised. Arsenic levels in organic products can be potentially dangerous to humans when consumed directly depending on the level of arsenic present and particularly which type of arsenic is extant. Organic arsenic is found in many common foods consumed such as a variety of marine products, some grains, like rice, and processed foods like juices, particularly apple juice. Studies as recent as the 1990’s have discovered low levels of organic arsenic in the seaweed consumed by civilians across the United States. Traditionally seaweed can be prepared in a number of different manners depending on the dish that it is complementing. There are over ten thousand different varieties of seaweed; nori, which is used in rolling the popular sushi rolls from Japan, kombu and wakame are frequently used in the far east for added flavor, finally hijiki, a type of brown seaweed which is used in several different manners. According to an abstraction done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in March of 2012, Hijiki seaweed naturally grown in regions near Japan, Korea and China, contains levels of inorganic arsenic which are found to be toxic to the human body. While organic arsenic, the less toxic form, is commonly found in most seaweeds and marine life, it is not considered to have a toxicity strong enough to cause any documented human illness. In contrast, inorganic arsenic compounds are toxic and if possible should be avoided. Validating the research found by the Canadian government,...
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