Mercury found in half of all High Fructose Corn Syrup

Rare is the news story that leaves me speechless. This story, from the Ethicurean, is one of those rare few.

After one set of scientists found mercury — yes, everyone’s favorite brain-impairing element — in almost half of commercial HFCS, another bunch of scientists decided to get specific and tested 55 common consumer products that use HFCS. And guess what? Almost a third of them contain mercury.

How did the heavy metal get in there? In making HFCS — that “natural” sweetener, as the Corn Refiners Associaton likes to call it — caustic soda is one ingredient used to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. Apparently most caustic soda for years has been produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants, where it can be contaminated with mercury that it passes on to the HFCS, and then to consumers.

I’m horrified, speechless, and not all that surprised.

The whole story is worth the read, as are the links in the story.

UPDATE: From the comments, Tom adds the following:

…the average high-end dose from HFCS is 28 micrograms per day, and the dose from a dental amalgam is 1 microgram per day. Canada and other areas do not recommend dental amalgam (silver fillings) for children.

So, this looks like something to be concerned about. Ordinarily we don’t eat processed food, just out of habit, but now it’s a very good reason to seriously limit the amount of HFCS consumed by kids.

h/t to Jack at Fork & Bottle