How many of us have stopped or restricted our families intake of tuna due to the mercury content? It turns out tuna is not the only way mercury is entering our food chain. Mercury has been found in high fructose corn syrup, a product that has replaced sugar in many of our processed foods. During a bad week for the FDA, with questions about the history of the peanut butter plant responsible for the salmonella deaths and questions about how the FDA handled the recall in the first place. US News and World Report announces the FDA was aware of the mercury in corn syrup, but did not act.
In a report published in the journal Environmental Health, former FDA scientist, Renee Dufault tested 20 samples of American high fructose corn syrup and found nine of those contaminated with mercury.
A follow up study by Dr. David Wallinga of the nonprofit Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy determined if mercury would be found in food containing corn syrup. MSNBC reports that Dr. Wallinga and his team went to the supermarket and purchased 55 items which listed corn syrup as a first or second ingredient. The result of the study found that one third of the foodstuffs had mercury above the detectable level reports MSNBC. Mercury found in high fructose corn syrup affects some of the most popular foods in America, jelly, soda, yogurt, candy, chocolate sauce and barbeque sauce according to US News and World Report. Some of America’s favorite brands were tested, including: Kraft, Hershey’s, Yoplait, Nutri-Grain, Manwich, Smuckers, Quaker, and Hunt’s reports MSNBC.
The Corn Growers Association challenges the findings of both reports citing outdated information and dubious results according to the report on MSNBC.
Everyone agrees that Mercury is harmful and should be restricted if not avoided all together. More research is needed to determine which foods are effected and to what degree. Mercury has been found to be particularly harmful to woman who may become pregnant, pregnant woman, woman who are nursing and children according to FDA website, www.sfsan.fda.gov/.
Highly processed food has been linked to diabetes and obesity reports US News and World Report and now those same processed foods may contain another health hazard, mercury in high fructose corn syrup. The FDA seems either overwhelmed or incapable of filling its role of public health advocate and protector. Now more than ever we need to proactive in keeping informed and diligent about food safety for our families.