High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury, study finds

April 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm 1 comment

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.


The Washington Post reports that two new US studies have done tests on the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in everyday products in American households… and found half contained mercury.

The mercury was “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,” says the Post. “The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.”

Representatives for the industries that make the foods with HFCS saysthe studies are based on outdated information because they use mercury-free versions now.

Either way, HFCS isn’t good for you (more on that HERE) and should be avoided but HFCS can be found places you’d never suspect… like yogurt, breakfast bars, some next step infant formulas, ketchup and, of course, soda and countless other items. So be sure to read ALL labels before giving any foods to children and pregnant women.

Mercury is especially dangerous for pregnant and breastfeeding women because they pass their mercury consumption onto their babies.

The CDC says “The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Methylmercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms, because more mercury in these forms reaches the brain. Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.”

Mercury has also been found in fish, which is why fish consumption should be reduced to once a week while pregnant or breastfeeding. Probably a good rule to follow now for HFCS too.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Helene  |  May 27, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Thanks for your submission to take Charge of Your Health Care Carnival. We all need to be aware of the mercury levels in our foods.


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