"Truth always lags behind, limping along
on the arm of Time."- Baltasar Gracián
much-debated sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, is going
to need more than a pricey PR campaign to fix this one.
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.
David Wallinga, M.D., and his co-authors of “Not So
Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup,” are
brand names in their report from the Institute for
Agriculture and Trade Policy. At the top of the list: Quaker
Oatmeal to Go, Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce from Heinz,
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, Kraft Original Barbecue
Sauce, and Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars. Oy!
And, although soft drinks, the über-users of HFCS, surprisingly
weren’t the worst offenders, I’m betting Coca-Cola
Classic (coming in at 12th) gets consumed in far higher dietary
quantities than Oatmeal to Go.
That’s all bad enough, especially considering no level
of mercury is considered safe and that it’s especially
toxic to growing brains — that is, the brains of the
people consuming the highest levels of HFCS (children) and
the brains of babies in utero. (See the figures in the report.)
Worse: People at the FDA and USDA knew about the presence
of mercury in HFCS and did nothing about it.
According to a press release from the IATP, Renee Dufault,
the lead author in the first study (”Mercury from chlor-alkali
plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar,” published
today in Environmental Health), was
working at the FDA when the commercial HFCS was tested. The
IATF release reports, “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.”
I suppose we’ve already known the FDA is sweet on HFCS
(and food from cloned cattle) and can’t find a pathogen
when it’s actually looking for it. But if you can’t
trust Mr. Quaker, whom can you trust?