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Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9012601831.html

Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. 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 [u.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

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In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

But an organization representing the refiners is disputing the results published in Environmental Health.

"This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance," said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement. "Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances."

However, the IATP told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that four plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still use "mercury-cell" technology that can lead to contamination.

IATP's Ben Lilliston also told HealthDay that the Environmental Health findings were based on information gathered by the FDA in 2005.

And the group's own study, while not peer-reviewed, was based on products "bought off the shelf in the autumn of 2008," Lilliston added.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

"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. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients," Wallinga said in his prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has more about mercury and health.

SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009

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Personally, I would much rather the use of HFCS be abolished in food. It's been linked to obesity for starters.

And has anyone here tried a Coke or Pepsi from Mexico, which still has pure cane sugar? It tastes much better in my opinion.

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Personally, I would much rather the use of HFCS be abolished in food. It's been linked to obesity for starters.

And has anyone here tried a Coke or Pepsi from Mexico, which still has pure cane sugar? It tastes much better in my opinion.

I'd love to try it.

I believe there is as gradual shift away from HFCS being made...as several food items are switching to sugar or some other sweetener. Example: Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce is no longer contains HFCS and uses sugar...it tastes much better.

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The switch to sugar should be made for taste alone. My great-grandmother had a delicious pecan pie recipe that was beloved by my father's side of the family. It called for corn syrup. I did some research, and found out that outside of North America, corn syrup is virtually nonexistant. Lyle's Golden Syrup, made from cane sugar, is what is used instead, and the substitution ratio is 1:1.

So, my experiment: I made two pecan pies, with one having corn syrup, and the other having golden syrup. Not only was the golden syrup pie preferred taste-wise, but the two cooked exactly the same.

The golden syrup pie was much more flavorful because the taste of cane sugar and cane sugar products really brought out the nutty flavor of the pecans, whereas the corn syrup just tasted sweet while adding nothing in terms of flavor.

If you try soda made in other countries with cane sugar, the flavors are much more pronounced and mellow compared to the "too sweet" taste of the HFCS iterations sold in North America.

The best comparison is to order Dublin Dr. Pepper (Dublin is the plant in TX that never switched away from sugar) and try it side-by-side with the standard HFCS version.

Another opportunity that is coming up is to try side-by-side Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Sprite and possibly Sierra Mist with their Passover versions, which use cane sugar because HFCS is not Kosher for Passover.

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Keep in mind the people who did this study are from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a front group founded by a former Greenpeace guy whose sole purpose is to bad mouth agribusiness and promote organic food. The fact their study wasn't peer reviewed makes these findings meaningless.

Detecting mercury is detecting mercury, buddy. Even the plants admitted to manufacturing the stuff with mercury.

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there is a large spanish population in my town so there is a spanish section in the supermarket and they always have the coke from mexico available. i should try it again.

kinda makes ya wonder if diet pop isn't better for ya after all!!!!

i had gotten this article the other day from someone i know. my daughter has had an autism diagnosis so i run sometimes with a group that has a more watchful eye on this stuff, of course as mercury has partially been to blame for the autism thing too.

Edited by regfootball
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Sorry to hear about the autism.

If you want Mexican Coca-Cola, check the label. Not all of it from Mexico is made with sugar.

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I really miss Coke made with sugar. The taste is very different ... much sharper. Pretty much anywhere in the world except North America it is made with sugar. There is a sugar based Coke bottled in the New York City area, but AFAIK, it's only done leading up to Passover and is labeled as "Kosher for Passover".

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I always wondered why my European Coke tasted different (as in better)...now I know why. I'm assuming that the price of sugar is too high that there probably won't be a mass switch back to it; isn't that the reason they went to HFCS in the first place?

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I always wondered why my European Coke tasted different (as in better)...now I know why. I'm assuming that the price of sugar is too high that there probably won't be a mass switch back to it; isn't that the reason they went to HFCS in the first place?

They went to HFCS because the Corn Lobby > Sugar Lobby

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They went to HFCS because the Corn Lobby > Sugar Lobby

To accelerate your point, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) was and is the leading producer of HFCS. In the late 70's all the way up to the 90's they began buying sugar refiners and shuttering them so they could artificially manipulate the price of sugar. As a result, US economics drove the switch to HFCS. ADM was sued in Federal Court. I don't recall the outcome but, I do believe they were found guilty but it was too late to repair the sugar industry.

Free market my as*.

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Usually these kinds of reports are BS, but the corn industry is pretty disgusting in this country. Anything to stop their iron grip on Congress and free trade is fine by me.

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One interesting input, while I am all for using natural ingrediants such as cane suger instead of Corn Syrup, the Organic thing had become way overblown.

Washington state did a study in 2007 if memory serves me correct and found that 1/3 of organic food produced was actually produced on poluted land and had much higher amounts of chemicals etc.

Just because the organic trade group says organic vegitables are better for you is not a promise they are cleaner and truly healthier. I would be very careful about buying from farmer markets stuff labeled as organic which usually has a higher cost. They verywell could be worse for you than traditional commercial farming.

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They went to HFCS because the Corn Lobby > Sugar Lobby

yup. the corn growers have an unreal lock on the US. ethanol. corn syrup.

people bitched about the GM loans. but look at the money the farm program gets for this . sick

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ooo cane sugar coke. i remember the royal crown drafts when i was in junior high those were awesome

They still sell draft in a few places... (My GF's dad works for RC)

I've always wanted to order a case of Dr. Pepper from the original Dr. Pepper plant in TX. (They still use sugar)

HFCS is bad for you in many ways. I read a study that said it will eventually nuke your kidneys. (HFCS is one major reason I'm trying to break my soft drink habit)

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ooo cane sugar coke. i remember the royal crown drafts when i was in junior high those were awesome

Is that the difference? I always wondered why I liked RC but not Pepsi nor Coke.

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back where i grew up, sugar beets were a huge crop item. but i do recall where HFCS started to take away the sugar beet business. beet sugar is often competitive with cane sugar.

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Is that the difference? I always wondered why I liked RC but not Pepsi nor Coke.

well the rc drafts were marketed as a premium soda or something, im not really sure, i wiki'd it once. but there is a very distinct taste to RC compared to coke and pepsi. Cheerwine is the shizzle as well.

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Email response from Coca-Cola:

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company. We appreciate this opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Testing done on foods and beverages was done on a single sample of each brand. While mercury was initially found at a detectable limit in two of our beverages, the levels reported in our products are not a health concern. The level found in Minute Maid Berry Punch, for example, was 0.04 parts per billion which can be compared to the guideline value of mercury in drinking water of 6 parts per billion established by the World Health Organization and the MCLG of 2 parts per billion established by the US EPA.

The report of the finding of mercury in the two samples should be considered to be suspect because only a single sample of each product was analyzed and the reported results are very close to the limit of detection of the analytical method. At these low levels, issues with contamination and false positives are a common problem. The reported levels are approximately 40 times less than the level of mercury permitted in common drinking water by US EPA.

The reported levels are approximately 40 times less than the level of mercury permitted in common drinking water by US EPA. The Coca-Cola Company has an uncompromising commitment to product safety and quality. In all countries in which we operate, we adhere to local government safety regulations and our own rigorous quality control standards.

We use sophisticated analytical testing methods to ensure the purity and safety of ingredients used in our products. All of our suppliers are monitored to ensure that their operations meet our strict quality standards. We are confident that when you purchase a product from The Coca-Cola Company, you are buying a safe and wholesome beverage.

The Corn Refiners Association said in its statement responding to the reports, "This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance. Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances. For more than 150 years, corn wet millers have been perfecting the process of refining corn to make safe ingredients for the American food supply."

You may be interested to know that additional nutritional information for most of our brands in the U.S. is available via our website. Go to thecoca-colacompany.com, click on "Brands" at the top, then select "U.S. Product Nutrition Information."

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please visit our website again.

Jennifer

Industry and Consumer Affairs

The Coca-Cola Company

Emphasis added.

So basically, the study sucks and sholuldn't be credible because the mercury levels detected are at the fringe of detectability, and at that range false positives are common...yet Coca-Cola has some amazing sophisticated method of their own and can say that there isn't that problem for them? They did not address the fact that the HFCS plants USED MERCURY TO MAKE THE $h!. But the Corn Refiners Association (read: lobby) says it's safe.

Cool. Throwing out my Coca-Cola, and selling my stock.

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And has anyone here tried a Coke or Pepsi from Mexico, which still has pure cane sugar? It tastes much better in my opinion.

Completely agree there. :thumbsup:

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Is that the difference? I always wondered why I liked RC but not Pepsi nor Coke.

RC Draft was premium and thus, pure cane sugar.

The only pure cane sugar, mass market drink that I can think of now is glass bottle Nehi. (Unless you count Jones)

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RC Draft was premium and thus, pure cane sugar.

The only pure cane sugar, mass market drink that I can think of now is glass bottle Nehi. (Unless you count Jones)

It looks like Hansen's is also using cane sugar.

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RC Draft was premium and thus, pure cane sugar.

The only pure cane sugar, mass market drink that I can think of now is glass bottle Nehi. (Unless you count Jones)

Glass bottle Cheerwine is another.

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