High Fructose Corn Syrup & Mercury

Independent Testing Found No Quantifiable Mercury – Review by Duke University Medical Center

Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH, of Duke University Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading experts in mercury contamination, reviewed the results of total mercury testing of samples of high fructose corn syrup conducted by Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratory (Metairie, LA) in February and March 2009. Dr. Stopford concluded:

  • No quantifiable mercury was detected in any of the samples analyzed.
  • High fructose corn syrup does not appear to be a measureable contributor to mercury in foods.

In his summary of findings, Dr. Stopford stated, “Mercury is ubiquitous in the environment being generated both by man-made activities (such as coal-fired power plants) and by natural phenomenon (such as volcanoes). Mercury is found naturally in all living things, including all categories of foods and beverages. Levels in foods and beverages have dropped significantly in the last 40 years. The introduction of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener has not been associated with any noticeable difference in mercury levels in foods and beverages containing high fructose corn syrup. Levels of mercury found in such foods and beverages are what would be expected from mercury found normally in such foods and beverages and are at background levels.”

To view Dr. Stopford’s analysis and conclusions, please see: http://duketox.mc.duke.edu/HFCS%20test%20results4.doc.

Tests Find No Quantifiable Mercury Levels in High Fructose Corn Syrup

WASHINGTON, DC – Manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup in the United States and Canada commissioned independent testing and expert review following a recent report alleging mercury findings in high fructose corn syrup. No quantifiable levels of mercury were found according to the independent lab Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratory, whose work and results were reviewed by Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH, of Duke University Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading experts in mercury contamination.

“The American public can rest assured that high fructose corn syrup is safe. Safety is the highest priority for our industry, which is why we immediately commissioned external testing as well as independent expert review of claims concerning mercury and our corn sweetener. No quantifiable levels of mercury were found in high fructose corn syrup,” said Audrae Erickson, president, Corn Refiners Association.

To read the full Corn Refiners Association statement, please click here.

Expert Assessment: HFCS Mercury Study Flawed and Misleading

SAN FRANCISCO – ChemRisk, a leading scientific consulting firm, was asked by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to examine the recent publication by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), “Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup,” and the Environmental Health journal publication “Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar,” by Dufault et al, 2009, and to offer our comments and analysis.

In summary we found:

  • The IATP report and Environmental Health article it references fall well below standards for proper scientific research and published literature.
  • The authors of both publications provide incomplete data and misleading conclusions.
  • Methods described by the authors deviate from standard procedure in testing for mercury.
  • The authors ignore important distinctions between organic and other forms of mercury and their implications for assessing human health risk.
  • Even if it were assumed that the mercury content found in the extremely limited sampling of foods and beverages was representative, the amounts are far lower than levels of concern set by government agencies.
  • The authors assume that the total mercury they detected in a questionably small sampling of consumer foods is primarily the result of high fructose corn syrup; an assumption that has not been properly tested or validated. The recipes for the items studied may have had multiple sources of potential contamination.

To read the full ChemRisk assessment, please click here.