Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That Corn Syrup Might Contain Mercury

Trace levels of mercury were found to be present in high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetening agent that is used in many of the processed foods we consume on a daily basis, a recent study found.

According to researchers, the mercury finds its way into corn syrup by way of the processing equipment used to make it. MedicalNewsToday reports the element in question is caustic soda, which is used to separate the starch from the corn kernel during processing. The caustic soda has been produced for years in industrial chlorine plants, which use mercury cells. The mercury has been migrating in trace amounts into the caustic soda, and from there into the corn syrup.

The good news is, some processing plants use caustic soda that is not produced alongside mercury cells, and the industry has only to shift to using it, rather than the more dangerous product.

Legislation has been in process since 2007 to phase out mercury cell technology.

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