Parent Category: News
Category: Food & Drugs
Created on Tuesday, 27 January 2009 00:00
Source: Washington Post
MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of
tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained
mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular
brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or
second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many
beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch
meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume
about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers
can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.
"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much
high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a
significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We
are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and
Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination
of the food supply," said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.
In the first study, researchers found detectable
levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The study
was published in current issue of Environmental Health.
In the second study, the agriculture group found that
nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The
chemical was most common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings
The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the
production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury
cells are used to produce caustic soda.
"The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not
their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like
caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that
mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good
push to only use those ingredients," Wallinga said.
The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has more about mercury and health.
SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009