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The FDA sat on evidence of mercury-tainted high-fructose corn syrup
Posted by Tom Philpott at 2:04 PM on 26 Jan 2009
High-fructose corn syrup rose from obscurity to ubiquity starting in the late 1970s, borne up by an informal public-private partnership between grain-processing giant Archer Daniels Midland and the federal government. For me, HFCS is at best a highly processed, lavishly subsidized, calorie-heavy, nutritional vacuum.
I recently visited a public high school in Boone, N.C. The main hall literally hummed with machines peddling variations on Coca-Cola's formula for success: fizzy water with artificial flavor, artificial color, added caffeine, and a jolt of HFCS. Other machines displayed snack "foods" tarted up with HFCS. Why are we feeding our kids this crap, again?
Now comes news that makes even an HFCS cynic like me do a spit-take over my home-brewed morning coffee. Turns out that HFCS is commonly tainted with mercury -- a highly toxic substance -- according to a peer-reviewed report published by Environmental Health (abstract here; PDF of the must-read full text here.)
The Environmental Health study draws on samples of high-fructose corn syrup taken straight from the factory. But no one drinks the stuff straight. What about, say, cookies sweetened with HFCS? The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy plucked HFCS-containing products from supermarket shelves and tested them for mercury. The result?
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Re: High Fructose Corn Syrup Commonly Tainted with Mercury
Good article, but even better follow-up comments on the prevalence of Hg in the food supply. You're right. It's the food...more accurately, the air, water and soil. The trouble with Hg is that it accumulated in fatty tissue of living things and stays there. Every molecule that goes into plants goes into the animals that eat it. Since we're top-of-the-chain consumers, we get the highest concentration of Hg and that accumulates over our lifetimes. The "autism community" has been aware of this for a long time.