Watch out for Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup

Seeing we are talking about the dangers of mercury in dental amalgam and fish you should also be aware that mercury sometime turns up in unexpected places. I was suprised to see it turn up in high fructose corn syrup sweeteners. In fact the levels of exposure from corn syrup may be as much or higher than from fish.

  • In fact a study at the University of Wisconsin found it in 45% of high fructose corn syrup samples they tested from 9 manufactuers.
  • IATP purchased fifty-five food items from popular brands off grocery store shelves in the fall of 2008 — items in which HFCS was the first or second principal ingredient — and detected mercury in nearly a third of them.
  • An EHO at the FDA conducted an investigation of the chlor-alkali industry in 2004 and found mercury residue in all of the mercury cell chlor-alkali products including caustic soda, chlorine, potassium hydroxide, and hydrochloric acid.

The problem with that is that high fructose corn syrup is in all kinds of products. Think Coca Cola, granola bars, ketchup, barbeque sauce, candy etc. USDA estimates people consume an average of 42 pounds/ 19 kilograms of high fructose corn syrup per year! Some estimates are higher as in 56 pounds / 25 kilograms per person per year.

Why is mercury turning up in high fructose corn syrup?

  1. It is used as a catalyst in the creation of high fructose corn syrup. The contamination may have been due to the fact that mercury cells are used in the production of caustic soda, an ingredient used to make HFCS.
  2. Some leaks into the product. Articles show 8000 pounds of mercury being lost at one plant alone
  3. It likely leaks from every plant that used mercury in the caustic soda process used to make high fructose corn syrup. Not all plants use the mercury process but you don’t know which plant is supplying the corn syrup in the product you are consuming. So it’s safe to assume every product contains some amounts.

How can I avoid such mercury exposure?

  1. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. It’s bad for your body and metabolism anyways and is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc.
  2. Get products with real sugar not high fructose corn syrup if you want them sweetened
    • Instead of regular Pepsi buy the Pepsi Natural made with sugar
    • Instead of Coca Cola buy the Mexican one made with real sugar or the natural version
    • Get the more upscale barbeque sauce made with sugar instead of corn syrup. It tastes better anyways. Check the labels carefully and steer clear.
    • Buy more natural type products but check the labels to make sure the claims are not bs
  3. Drink beverages and foods with no sweeter like La Croix or Bubbly sparkling water instead of soda. Yeah you could drink diet soda too but aspartame has its own bad issues and so does sacharin. If you need caffeine drink coffee or tea. Hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea, iced tea, sparkling caffeinated waters etc.

Examples of products found to contain mercury? Basically any product where HFC is a major ingredient. Here is where one study found them.

Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars
Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
Manwich Gold Sloppy Joe
Market Pantry Grape Jelly
Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly
Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry
Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup
Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth Dressing
Coca-Cola Classic: no mercury found on a second test (where HFC is used instead of sugar)
Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
Minute Maid Berry Punch
Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
Nesquik Chocolate Milk
Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk

Why is there so much high fructose corn syrup in foods?

For the past several decades, the U.S. government has paid subsidies to American farmers to grow tons of corn (much of which — nearly 90 percent — is genetically modified) and shifted domestic agricultural policy to maximize corn crops. This made high-fructose corn syrup and other corn-derived processed ingredients much cheaper for industrial food manufacturers to use.

Basically big agricuture benefits from these subsidies. So yes it always comes back to money! Follow the money and you will have your answer. If you don’t believe me do your own research. Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, Baidu, Yandex, whatever you use.

Scientific journal articles that backup these claims here in PDF form for your perusual

Mercury concentrations in corn syrup and corn syrup production

Products with HFCS found to contain mercury

Summary of the mercury high fructose studies

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