Quantities of mercury have been found in high fructose corn syrup, the ingredient that has replaced sugar in many of our processed foods. Reports have also come out that the FDA knew about traces of the toxic substance in food, and sat on the information. This news comes out just as we've learned that the peanut butter factory responsible for the salmonella outbreak has a storied history of health violations. What a week for food safety.
Mercury in high fructose corn syrup affects many of the most popular foods in America, including yogurt, soda, candy, juice and jelly. Even a small amount of it can be seriously unhealthy.
"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."
The Corn Refiners Association is disputing the results of the study, but a watchdog group's study turned up similar results. More research is needed to determine exactly which foods are affected, but some of the foods tested were from the brands Hershey's, Quaker, Hunt's, Manwich, Smucker's, Kraft, Nutri-Grain, and Yoplait. We've already read that high fructose corn syrup can contribute to obesity and diabetes. With this recent scare, will people take a turn away from processed foods to more natural eating habits? Or have processed foods become an irreplacable part of the American diet?