The British Food Standards Agency released a warning about a particular kind of seaweed. The consumers were warned not to eat the seaweed called Hijiki.
Hijiki is a seaweed that has been found to contain abnormally high levels of inorganic arsenic. This is a chemical element that is harmful to the body. The substance is known to greatly increase the risk of cancer cells. This kind of seaweed is a very dark, with a shredded appearance. In Japan, it is traditionally eaten as an appetizer. However, it is not a common ingredient used in sushi. A lot of Chinese restaurants also don’t use it as an ingredient for their cuisine.
Popularity of hijiki
The popularity of the specific seaweed originated from a folklore in Japan. It is said that the consumption of hijiki benefits the health and beauty. The traditional myths also say that the seaweed can help in thick hair growth and make it look shinier.
The hijiki can be used in, salads, soups and other vegetarian and vegan dishes. This ingredient can be found in the specialty section of many supermarkets. It can also be found in Asian specialty stores and health food stores.
Hijiki’s negative effects
The Food Standards Agency carried out a study to find the negative effects of this food ingredient. According to the examination they conducted, the hijiki contains an inorganic arsenic in a form that naturally occurs in some foods. They also conducted a survey to test and review the contents of arame, kombu, nori, and wakame which are other types of seaweed. However, there’s no inorganic arsenic found in the mentioned types of seaweed.
As said by the Food Standards Agency, consuming a small amount or eating hijiki occasionally will unlikely raise the considerable risk of getting cancer. However, they advised the consumers to stop purchasing and eating it to prevent the possibilities of getting sick. The also advised the people to choose from the other four types of seaweed rather than of including hijiki in their meals.
Currently, the Britain and the European Union have not yet placed a ban in selling hijiki. The British agency has contacted the EU about taking the necessary actions to prohibit the sale of the particular seaweed.
Britain’s independent scientific board called the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment has concluded that people should consume as little inorganic arsenic as possible. In that way, they could avoid the harmful effects of the substance and lower the risks of getting ill. The organic form of arsenic is far less harmful compared to the inorganic ones found in hijiki. The organic arsenic can be found in many food products including cereals, baked goods, fruit, meat, poultry, and vegetables.
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