Food contamination is far more common than you would assume. Sadly, it seems we end up covering at least one example of this a week, if not more. From some famous food brands being contaminated to even medical cannabis being affected and recalled, while most would love to assume everything that crosses their tables is safe for consumption, that is not always the case. And the last thing people would think would be affected would be herbs and spices, but that is exactly what happened recently.
Consumer Reports just released some discomforting information about some herbs and spices they tested. To say the results are shocking is putting it mildly. Out of the 40 products tested, which included 15 types of dried herbs and spices, over one-third were infected with enough levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium to potentially make some children very sick. Yes, literal poisonous heavy metals inside seasonings. It is shocking news to most, but the truth is, this has always been a problem.
Whereas most people would assume food poisoning would come from meats and proteins, that is just not the case here, and this has caused a lot of concern among consumers.
Not So Nice Spice
Another very scary aspect of these test results is the fact that there was no single factor or brand name that was seemingly spared. These test results were spread across various different brands, which makes the news even more upsetting. Brands affected include McCormick, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Spice Island, Great Value, La Flor, and Penzeys. Brands with the word “organic” on the label tested just as highly for contaminants as non-organic brands.
The real threat of heavy metals in food and seasonings is the simple fact that the body cannot break these metals down, even for excretion. It can also have some very long-term negative effects as well.
Heavy metals in children can:
Affect brain development
Increase risk of behavioral problems
Lead to a lower I.Q.
Heavy Metals in adults can:
Contribute to central nervous system problems
Cause reproductive problems
Season With Caution
It is impossible to get rid of all heavy metals in spices because many are grown abroad and cannot be closely monitored while being cultivated. And while there are mandates in place to ensure everything is grown safely and correctly, sometimes some spices can slip through the cracks.
To give you an idea of just how widespread the problem is, over 100 herbs and spices have been recalled for this exact issue since 2016. And sadly, as stated period, it is not brand specific. The truth is, this probably won’t affect you, but just make sure to read your labels before seasoning and this season, please season with caution.