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High Fructose Corn Syrup contaminated w/ Mercury

Posted Feb 03 2009 12:43am
This is important especially to our suseptible children on the spectrum who have trouble excreting toxins from their bodies.


Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New Study Finds

Brand-Name Food Products Also Discovered to Contain Mercury

http://www.iatp. org
(A list of products and the study can be found here: http://www.healthob servatory. org/library. cfm?refID= 105026)

Minneapolis – Mercury was found in nearly 50 percent of tested samples
of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a new
article published today in the scientific journal, Environmental
Health. A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy (IATP) detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular
brand- name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or
second highest labeled ingredient—including products by Quaker,
Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.

HFCS use has skyrocketed in recent decades as the sweetener has
replaced sugar in many processed foods. HFCS is found in sweetened
beverages, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts,
soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons
per day of HFCS. Consumption by teenagers and other high consumers can
be up to 80 percent above average levels.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D.,
and a co-author in both studies. “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 FDA to help stop this avoidable
mercury contamination of the food supply.”

In the Environmental Health article, Dufault et al. found detectable
levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. Dufault
was working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when the tests
were done in 2005. She and co-authors conclude that possible mercury
contamination of food chemicals like HFCS was not common knowledge
within the food industry that frequently uses the sweetener. While the
FDA had evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury
four years ago, the agency did not inform consumers, help change
industry practice or conduct additional testing.

For its report “Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn
Syrup,” IATP sent 55 brand-name foods and beverages containing HFCS as
the first or second ingredient to a commercial laboratory to be tested
for total mercury. Nearly one in three products tested contained
detectable mercury. Mercury was most prevalent in HFCS-containing
dairy products, followed by dressings and condiments. Attached is the
summary list of the 55 products and their total mercury content.

In making HFCS, caustic soda is used, among other things, to separate
corn starch from the corn kernel. For decades, HFCS has been made
using mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine
(chlor-alkali) plants. The use of mercury cells to produce caustic
soda can contaminate caustic soda, and ultimately HFCS, with mercury.

“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,” said Dr. Wallinga. “The good news is that
mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good
push to only use those ingredients.”

While most chlorine plants around the world have switched to newer,
cleaner technologies, many still rely on the use of mercury cells. In
2005, 90 percent of chlorine production was mercury-free, but just 40
percent of European production was mercury-free. Four U.S. chlor-
alkali plants still rely on mercury cell technology. In 2007, then-
Senator Barack Obama introduced legislation to force the remaining
chlor-alkali plants to phase out mercury cell technology by 2012.

The Environmental Health article by Dufault et al. can be found at: www.ehjournal. net
..

“Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup,” by David
Wallinga, M.D., Janelle Sorensen, Pooja Mottl and Brian Yablon, M.D.,
can be found at: www.iatp.org.

IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and
practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. www.iatp.org
..
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