There’s Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup, and the FDA Has Known for Years

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.”

Full Story: Huffington Post

(Thanks Biohabit)

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).


  1. This doesn’t surprise me at all. A few years back I was having digestive problems and I had to eliminate various substances form my diet to find out what may be causing the problem. Two of them were white sugar and fructose corn syrup. It was friggin’ HELL finding things to eat without these added in them. I also went through a serious withdrawal after eliminating them form my diet. It was quite an eye opener.

  2. Eliminating those processed sugars from your diet is a good exercise. Even if you’re not concerned about your health, you’ll be amazed how hard they are to avoid.

    You’ll also be amazed how many more flavors you can taste.

  3. Yeah, we’re definitely living in the Third World these days…so hopefully we can all stop using the term “Third World” by the end of the year?

    I recently found out that the drinking water where I live — Springfield, Illinois — is over the legal limit for 19 toxins, one of which is motherfucking ARSENIC. Of course, there’s no actual consequences for being “over the legal limit” since the EPA had it’s teeth kicked out years ago.

    So right now I’m studying up on how to build a Sono Arsenic Filter:


  4. That’s for sure. Ran across this this morning and it looks like this is breaking in the blogs but not the newz. Wonder what else will come to light now that the administration isn’t what it used to be… Cane and beet sugar is a hell of a lot healthier than this

  5. I work with the Corn Refiners Association and want to point out a serious inaccuracy in the study that came out in Environmental Health that reports high fructose corn syrup contains mercury. The study appears to be based on outdated information since the corn industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study for several years. It’s important that Americans know that high fructose corn syrup is safe and high fructose corn syrup meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s requirements for the use of the term “natural.” Here’s a link to the statement by the Corn Refiners Association on the topic.

    FT – On behalf of the Corn Refiner’s Association

  6. It’s important to recognize paid bullshit when we see it, too. Thanks for stopping through to spread your pollution further!

  7. As president of the Corn Refiners Association, I want to point out a serious inaccuracy. The study actually only proves that we USED TO sell corn syrup knowing it contained mercury. Since they don’t have any data from the past several years, I think it’s safe to say we can ignore their findings altogether.

    It’s important that Americans know that high fructose corn syrup is safe, becuase we’ve worked with the Food and Drug Administration to considerably reduce their safety laws. Also, high fructose corn syrup meets the FDA’s requirements for the use of the term “natural,” and we know this because we re-wrote those terms ourselves.

    So please, let’s stop worrying and learn to love high fructose corn syrup. Remember our motto: “You’re in for a sweet surprise.”

  8. Fructose corn syrup is toxic. But because it’s found in a majority of processed foods, you’re not likely to lose your market share anytime soon. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Dude, you guys got a paid shill trying to debunk your shit in the comments! Moving up in the world, indeed! Congratulations!

    I’m not sure what the point is, exactly. I’d assume most readers here aspire to eat local organic foods, as it is BLATANTLY OBVIOUS that everything put out by big agribusiness is poisonous to our land, our bodies, our economy, and our government.

    High fructose corn syrup is an invention of food scientists. I’m sorry, but while I understand that all food and taste and flavor is composed of chemical reactions, I don’t think food invented in a laboratory and made in a factory is appropriate for human consumption. It’s bad for you, and if you’re gonna eat it (and I do so more frequently than I would care to admit), you should do so with the understanding that you are poisoning yourself while supporting a massive industry of unadulterated evil. Just like cigarettes.

    They ought to tax junk food, and use the proceeds on subsidies for local organic vegetables. Fuck HFCS, and fuck the Corn Refiners Association.

  10. Your heavy use of profanity makes it difficult for real Americans to take your argument seriously. Most of us have been enjoying the benefits that corn syrup brings for many years now, and this kind of hysteria and anger won’t do anything to change their minds.

    We are concerned about the “echo chamber” effect of the internet, though, which is why we’re making it a point to deal with this false accusation anywhere and everywhere it shows up. Once this is contained — and it will be — you won’t have to deal with our presence on your “counterculture” blog.

    We’re grateful for the feedback, though! Your responses help us position our argument for future media buys. Fortunately, public opinion is decided in a mass media context, not through research studies most Americans can barely understand.

  11. Audrae-
    Could you provide some links for your argument on the benefits of fructose corn syrup? I would be interested in reading them. Provided that they’re NOT written by those in the industry or those connected to the sugar lobby. Thanks!

    (BTW- A lot of people are aware of the health hazards of FCS. Good luck trying to “contain” the “false accusations”. Plus, most people who’ve worked in and around the medical profession and big pharma know that the FDA has it’s share of corruption, and take whatever they “approve” with a grain of salt.)

  12. Sidenote:
    “you won’t have to deal with our presence on your “counterculture” blog.”

    Ms. Erikson- there are many people who wake up in the morning, get dressed in their suit/uniform and go to work at their jobs everyday who are interested in or a part of the counterculture. You’d never know because if they “announced” this they’d lose their jobs. There may even be a few in your own office.

    “Fortunately, public opinion is decided in a mass media context, not through research studies most Americans can barely understand.”

    Here you underestimate the intelligence of most Americans. They know that FCS is bad for them, but they’re addicted to the stuff. After all, it’s in just about every processed/prepared food that they consume. And with the tough economy they feel it is all they can afford, because it’s cheap, right?

  13. (Hey T.V I’m pretty sure Audrae Erickson is a sarcasm-puppet)

  14. So Audrae is definitely a fake.

    “FT” it turns out is from Weber Shandwick, a PR crisis firm (

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