Lead in Food

POSTED BY on Sep 16 under Lead Inspection

I recently tested some Turmeric (a spice used in curries etc.) for a customer of mine. Her family had recently had their blood tested and they all had elevated blood lead levels, her young sons  was well over 5 micro-grams of lead per deciliter of blood (lead poisoning level). She routinely received the spice from relatives in India that purchase it at a local farmers market. I sent a sample to the laboratory I use and the result came back at 920 milligrams per kilogram. This equals 920ppm (parts per million) lead or 920,000 micrograms. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers lead levels in food on a case by case basis.  As a comparison, lead levels higher than 50 ppm in juice is considered hazardous by the FDA.

We use Turmeric and purchase it from Penzeys spices (www.penzeys,com). My wife, seeing the lab results wanted our turmeric tested. I can test spices with my XRF analyzer; ours came back with no lead detected. My wife sent an email to Penzeys asking about their safety measures concerning contamination with substances like lead. She received a quick response; Penzeys tests all their products for lead and other contaminants.

Be careful where your food comes from, especially it is from out of the U.S. If it is not a known and reliable source like Penzeys (used as an example only) you may be taking a big risk with your family’s health and future. Very small amounts of lead will cause damage to our bodies, especially infants and young children. A one gram packet of sugar is equal to one million micrograms. You can see it wouldn’t take much of the lead contaminated turmeric added to your dinner to have a significant impact on your family.

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