Scary. This stuff seems to be in everything, from the obvious offenders, bottled drinks and ketchup, to the more innocuous-seeming bread and yogurt.
The Washington Post’s Kim O’Donnel reports:
“Two studies released this week suggest that caustic soda, when produced the old-fashioned mercury way, becomes contaminated with mercury, which then contaminates the HFCS and ultimately, the food. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is damaging to neurological development, particularly for developing fetuses and children. (See EPA backgrounder.)
In the first study, published in the journal Environmental Healthon Jan 26, Renee Dufault, a former FDA scientist, found detectable mercury in nine out of 20 HFCS samples from three manufacturers. Her findings led to this conclusion: ‘with 45 percent of the HFCS samples containing mercury in this small study, it would be prudent and perhaps essential for public health that additional research be conducted by the FDA or some other public health agency to determine if products containing HFCS also contain mercury.’
EH study co-author Dr. David Wallinga was in fact ‘interested in taking this study to the next step.’ Explains Wallinga, who overseas the Food and Health Program at the Institute of Agricultural and Trade Policy in Minneapolis: ‘Like many people, I hadn’t made the connection with connection of the products. I wanted to find out if one would be able to find mercury in food products made with high fructose corn syrup.’
Last fall, Wallinga and his staff went to the supermarket and selected 55 HFCS-sweetened products (HFCS was listed as first or second ingredient on the label) from the shelves, a variety that includes Pop-tarts, Snapple, Smucker’s Jelly and Yoplait yogurt. Independent lab tests revealed detectable mercury in 17 samples, or 31 percent.”
Of note: one Seattle-based grocery store refuses to sell any products containing the sugar substitute.
Image credit: fitsugar.com