CRA: No Mercury in HFCS

April 8/Health Business Week -- Manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. 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.

"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.

"Our industry has been supplying safe ingredients to the American public for generations. High fructose corn syrup is a trusted ingredient, with the same sweetness and calories per gram as sugar and is metabolized by the body the same as sugar. It also has many beneficial attributes that make it a preferred choice for several foods and beverages."

The manufacturers enlisted the independent lab Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratory, which in February and March 2009 received 119 samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS 42 and HFCS 55) from all 22 of the production facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Testing by Eurofins found no quantifiable mercury in any of the samples, using accepted methods for quantifiable detection (limit of quantification of 0.005mg/kg or five parts per billion and a detection limit of two parts per billion).

To further ensure verification of the safety of high fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Association asked noted mercury expert Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH to review the test procedure and conduct an independent evaluation of the test results. Stopford, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, is an internist, Preventive Medicine, in the Duke University Medical Center in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He has 36 years of experience as a practicing physician. He has been widely published and has taught numerous courses and seminars on toxicology, occupational health, and family medicine. Dr. Stopford is a renowned expert on the health effects of mercury and has conducted extensive research in the field. To view Dr. Stopford's analysis and conclusions, see:

From the April 13, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition