This past month saw some bad news for the food industry. News that could potentially affect the health of pregnant women and children.
First there was this report that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) might contain mercury. This would be a major concern for pregnant women and children, being that mercury is a neurotoxin that can affect developing fetal/child brains. However, I would not give much credence to this report for a couple of reasons:
1) The researchers tested food that is high in HFCS but not HFCS itself (see the article for the list of foods). Therefore, it is unclear where the mercury came from. I won't let these foods off the hook that quickly though...processed foods containing HFCS as their first or second ingredient usually don't offer much in the way of nutrition.
2) The researchers did not test for methylmercury, which is the type of mercury most easily absorbed by the body and it is unclear how other types of mercury can be absorbed by the body and in what amounts.
The bottom line: It is concerning that we have mercury in our food supply. However, don't fear foods containing high fructose corn syrup for their mercury levels but for their lack of real nutrients. Much more concerning is the mercury levels in fish. See my previous post about neurotoxins and safe fish consumption: click here.
Next there was this report that Bisphenol-A might linger in the body for longer periods than previously thought. Researchers previously thought that BPA leaves the body within 24 hours but either that is not true or we are continuously supplying our bodies with more BPA. BPA might linger in fat stores, causing overweight people people to be at higher risk of any potential negative health effects from BPA. Researchers conclude that BPA could potentially be entering our bodies via unavoidable sources such as PVC pipes in our water supply or foods not previously thought of as having BPA.
See my previous post of potential health effects of BPA and reasonable ways to avoid excess BPA: click here
Lastly, numerous deaths have been caused by a deadly strain of salmonella from contaminated peanut products. The company responsible for this outbreak, Peanut Corporation of America, is not operating at this time and put out a voluntary recall of all peanuts and peanut containing products since January 2007.
Don't worry about the jars of peanut butter in your pantry because the company only produced bulk peanut products, but do check the list below for other foods you might have in your pantry. Even unsuspecting foods such as snack mixes may contain peanut flour or peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America.