But as it turns out, the HFCS industry has been hiding some major skeletons in its closet — according to the IATP study (pdf), over 30% of products containing the substance tested positive for mercury.
What makes this news truly shocking is not just that the manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup would put consumers’ health at risk, but that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knew about the mercury in the syrup, and has been sitting on this information since 2005.
Here’s the connection, according to the IATP press release (pdf): The IATP study comes on the heels of another study, conducted in 2005 but only recently published by the scientific journal, Environmental Health, which revealed that nearly 50 percent of commercial HFCS samples tested positive for the heavy metal. Renee Dufault, who was working for the FDA at the time, was among the 2005 study’s authors. In spite of Dufault’s involvement in the study, the FDA sat silent on this one for three years, and in fact last August, allowed manufacturers to call the sweetener “natural.”
Update: a representative from the corn syrup lobby has weighed in with a response (As far as I can tell the comment from “FT” is real).