Whoa: Mercury in HFCS

First that whole insane peanut contamination thing, and now this:

Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

First off, thanks to Amy (soon to be Dr. Amy, PhD) for tipping me off to this.

Second, the SweetSurprise.com or SweetSuckers.com or whatever-the-HFCS-Marketing-Board-calls-themselves people can bite me. Hard. (We talked about those beyond ridiculous commercials promoting HFCS a few months ago here. If you are not in a mood for one of my rants, don't read that post.)

Third, I had a Dr. Pepper yesterday. A full-on, real Dr. Pepper with HFCS. It tasted good, if shocking because it had been a long time. But you know what? It wasn't worth it. If I'm going to take a chance with my body and future reproductive capability by ingesting mercury, it's going to be in the form of delicious, delicious tuna sashimi.

Now, if you read the full article (and I hope you do–I shouldn't be your primary news source any more than Jon Stewart is), you'll see that there's definitely technology to make mercury-free HFCS. So there are two ways to avoid the mercury contamination: 1) Stop ingesting HFCS, and 2) Push back and make contact with the comapnies that make your favorite HFCS-laden foods and call them and ask for mercury-free HFCS. If enough people push back, they'll do it. (Remember when goldfish crackers still had trans-fats? Consumer pushed back and now they don't.)

What's your take on this? Is it going to affect what you buy and eat? And which would you choose: sushi or soda?

100 thoughts on “Whoa: Mercury in HFCS”

  1. what about regular corn syrup. I got this stupid hippie chocolate syrup and it tastes ALL WRONG. can I eat the regular hershey kind? dammit.

  2. I buy almost exclusively store brand products. How can I know if they make their “strawberry fruit and grain bars” in the same factory as Nutri Grain? Often generics are made in the same place.

  3. Or you can drink Dr. Pepper from Dublin Texas.. it’s made with PURE cane Sugar..and tastes SO much better than the HCFS stuff…but it’s hard to get as you have to be in the Dublin, Waco, or Stephenville, Texas area… but it’s gooooood!Here in Australia, I’ve found very little food with little to zero HCFS… I wonder if this is all just in the US… but I bet it’s not…
    I agree try to steer around it or use the non mercury containing HCFS… how is it that any mercury ingestion could be acceptable to the FDA or anywhere else?

  4. Ugh. I’ve been mostly HFCS-free at home for a long while now (there are some small advantages to being a chronic yo-yo dieter, I guess) but I hate knowing that I can only protect my kid for so long. I can feed him 99% Good Stuff at home – assuming the definition of Good Stuff doesn’t change, as it is sometimes wont to do – but as he gets older, he’s going to eat at friends’ houses, at school, at restaurants, without me breathing down his neck.Well, Moxie is right as usual. The people who make this stuff are scum. And it’s clear from the article that none of it is any surprise to them. Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands – why am I sweating about what kind of tuna I eat when my body is already full of this crap from a childhood spent consuming HFCS?

  5. I’m sure almost everyone knows this, but if you’re a soda fan, stock up on Coke around Passover time, in the Spring. Coke that is labeled Kosher for Passover is made from real sugar, since certain Jewish groups won’t eat corn derivatives during Passover.

  6. Sushi. No question.The only soda we keep at home now is plain seltzer and a stockpile of kosher for Passover Coca-Cola (which is made with cane syrup, not HFCS), which I go through so slowly that I may as well not bother buying again this spring. I think we’ve finally eliminated HFCS from our at-home foods, and I just don’t ask questions when we’re at somebody else’s place for lunch or dinner.
    Mercury. Wow.

  7. We already avoid HFCS, partially-hydrogenated oils, and MSG (and all the ingredients hiding MSG–there are tons). It’s made a big difference in my health. I don’t like soda anyway so it’d be the sushi for sure.

  8. First thing I asked for after giving birth to my daughter was a tuna melt. But my OB said to be careful with mercury consumption even when not pregnant, so still rationing tunasalmon a few times a month.HFCS has been a no-no as much as possible in this house for a few years, it just really bugged me. Trader Joes makes a good chocolate syrup without it. Makes me feel so much better to not put that stuff into my kids’ milk. Not that sugar is MUCH better, but it is better. My problem is ketchup! My boy love love loves ketchup, and I haven’t found kosher ketchup without HFCS. Any ideas?
    Anyone want to grocery shopping with me? 3 kids under 6,Food allergies, kosher, AND no HFCS…and I wonder why it takes me soo long. And costs me so much.

  9. I’m just gonna go ahead and go on my own rant here. I have a husband who won’t eat anything cold, and hates most vegetables. I have a toddler who is a typical picky toddler. And, oh yeah, I don’t want to spend 50 million dollars on groceries. Every single day they tell us something else we can’t eat. I really don’t want to devote my whole life to finding and preparing safe foods, or trying to force them on my family. Why don’t they just go ahead and start selling food in pill form like we all thought they would do in the future?

  10. Oh, I would choose soda 100% of the time! I hate seafood and loooooove soda!My absolute favourite from that article is the line at the end: ‘”The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said in his prepared statement.’ REALLY??? REALLY, they need a push from consumers to stop putting POISON IN OUR FOOD? Excuse me, I thought we already gave the food industry a push by creating LAWS. Holy freaking shit. I wont be able to buy handmade toys for my kid soon, but I can still feed her poison at will, God bless America!
    Now, the question is, do I have to be one of Those People again and e-mail all of my mommy friends about this.. Ugh, I HATE having to do that, but I feel WAY too guilty if I dont 🙁

  11. HFCS gives me yeast infections. Learned that in college when I gave up pop for Lent. We don’t eat a lot of it. Well, at least not at home. Kiddo gets a ton at school, but not much I can easily do about that. No more bringing home late snack from school.I wish I felt comfortable eating sushi but not until I am done nursing, at least not most fish. It makes me so angry that we have poisoned our environment so much that food isn’t safe.
    I will say that I am so thankful her school is peanut-free, so I haven’t had to worry about the peanut butter recall. Also, what is up with that? They got positive results when testing for Salmonella, but sold it anyway (after getting it retested at a different lab).

  12. ARGH! I hate mass food production so much!How can we have such an unsafe food supply and expect to be even remotely healthy? This makes me so angry. I know how bad HFCS is for you and what it does to your body (hence the reason my family and I cut it out of our diets years ago) but this is just a total slap in the face.
    That settles it, I’m buying a farm and raising my own food because I just can’t take this madness any more!

  13. One of the questions was if we consume hfcs. Due to budgetary rearrangement, I am able to do all of our grocery shopping at Whole Foods/the Co-op again, so not very much when we eat at home, which is for almost all meals/snacks (dh takes lunch to work, so still made at home).

  14. @chaya, our Whole Foods has a ketchup from the brand Organicville that is made with agave nectar sweetener, not HCFS. I don’t have the bottle in front of me, so I can’t say if it is kosher. But my son loves it as much as any sugar-laden stuff.

  15. sushi, hands down. Though I live in a small town in upstate NY, and try to eat as locally as possible, so sushi isn’t much of an option for me any more. Ah well, less mercury is good.I’ve had a HFCS ban in the house since getting pregnant with my first, 5 years ago. It takes a lot of energy and education to avoid it in packaged goods, so I don’t buy much. I’ve recently relaxed the HFCS ban (as well as the local-only rule) to allow fruit snacks, but am going to have to re-ban. Which is too bad. My two-year old will do almost anything for them (except use the potty). Anyone know of any NON-HFCS containing fruit snacks?

  16. So let me get this straight. I refused a flu shot for my child this year because they didn’t have a mercury free one in my area but the Sprite I gave in and let him have with lunch yesterday….It is so damn frustrating trying to figure all this crap out!

  17. Oh, and not to be a scary person, but there ave been recent reports of honey laundering, where honey coming from China is relabeled as being from Australia or some other source. The honey is often cut with, you guessed it, corn syrup. Just another reason to buy from your neighbor instead of the supermarket.Here’s one link to an article discussing the problem
    http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/honey_laundering.htm
    http://current.com/items/89669029/honey_laundering_contaminated_chinese_honey_in_u_s.htm

  18. At least in Canada, most store bought sushi (including that from Whole Foods) is made with HFCS — it’s used to sweeten the rice. A lot of restaurants use it too – it’s cheaper than traditional sweeteners. So, not necessarily a sushi vs. soda debate :)Also, I learned from Hedra last time we discussed HFCS that it goes by other names in Canada / Australia etc. Here is often goes by sucrose/fructose which, sure enough, is in all sorts of products (e.g. my Dempster’s 100% Whole Grain Bread) that I used to buy not knowing I was feeding my child HFCS for breakfast everyday. Very annoying.
    I’m at the point where if it doesn’t simply state “cane sugar” or “sugar” in the ingredients, I don’t buy it. Anything along the lines of fructose-sucrose is most likely HFCS.

  19. I’m a big label reader and we shop at Whole Foods, and yet it is still hard to avoid all HFCS’s and have some “easy” options to make for dinner. Thankfully my 2 y.o. daughter’s daycare serves pretty nutritious food, so I have until elementary school to feel like I know what’s going in her mouth…When I’m done being pregnant I will go back to sushi. I rarely drink soda anyway, but I may still have the occassional 7-Up when I’m sick – It’s one of my tummy ache comfort foods and I’ve never found anything that works as well for me in that case…
    @ Chaya – I’m not sure about kosher, but I’m 90% sure that Heinz organic ketchup has no HFCS. My husband can’t tell the difference and I feel better when he goes on a fry frenzy.

  20. Sarah – The concern with the sushi isn’t about it containing HFCS, it is with the levels of mercury found in the fish. If you compare the amount of mercury found in one can of white tuna with the amount of mercury found in these foods … well, let’s just say you’d have to drink a LOT of Dr. Pepper to equal that one can of tuna.

  21. Sarah, I believe HFCS is labelled “glucose-fructose” here in Canada. I checked a can of Pepsi and sure enough, “glucose-fructose” is on the ingredients list.For those who like hot chocolate, try the Cocoa Camino brand. It’s not cheap and it’s not always available in general grocery stores, but it’s so worth it. No HFCS/glucose-fructose (unlike Nestle’s hot chocolate) and delicious, rich, chocolate. YUM.

  22. Diane – thanks, I get that. It’s just that in Canada at least it looks like most sushi has both problems, the mercury in the fish plus the mercury and all the other crap in the HFCS. So, pregnant or not, probably not the healthiest choice 🙁

  23. Chaya, we buy Annie’s ketchup (Annie’s of the mac & cheese)–I don’t know if it’s kosher, but I bet it doesn’t have HFCS. And it’s pretty good.

  24. Well I hate sushi and tuna in any form and don’t really feed it to the kids either. Since I’m pregnant, I’m currently drinking Hanson’s soda which I don’t think has HFCS (guess I need to double-check) when I get the soda urge. I would have to pry soda out of my husband’s hand though.It is so infuriating that HFCS is in every damn thing. I try to limit it as much as possible but I’m finding it almost impossible to completely ban. Like bbq sauce, we loooove bbq but ALL the commercial sauces have HFCS. I searched and searched and FINALLY found one without and…it tasted like ass. Ick!

  25. Sarah – Sorry if I misinterpreted your post! Reading while nursing an 8-week-old and conversing with a 2-year-old makes for lower reading comprehension sometimes.

  26. Unbelievable. I’ve done my best to keep it out of the house, but I know it sneaks in with stuff like ketchup and whatnot.Someone upthread mentioned agave nectar. I started buying it last year, after reading how it was a better sweetener. But I’ve recently read that its fructose levels are just as high as in HFCS and that it is problematic like HCFS because fructose does not give one a feeling of satiety like sucrose does.
    So know I’m wondering if I bought into clever marketing hype and agave nectar is really just yippie HCFS. Anyone know more?
    Also, I recently discovered that pureeing plain berries and adding a bit of maple syrup to taste makes a great all-purpose sauce for stuff like pancakes, yogurt, etc.

  27. Sushi. No doubt about it.I think I need to cut down on junk more generally, and as a result of that, would cut down on HFCS. But I’m not yet 100% on board with this plan to cut down on junk, since I like junk a whole lot.

  28. Can someone confirm (or dispute) this working theory: HFCS is problematic only when it’s in all or most of what we eat and particularly problematic when it’s in “health” foods (like the nutrigrain bars – those faux-quotes are purposeful) and staples, like bread.I am generally health conscious, especially with label reading and mercury (I’ve personally had mercury poisoning and I have a two year old with food allergies) but I’m thinking that HFCS in, say, ketchup or jelly isn’t that much of a concern unless ketchup or jelly is consumed at extreme rates. Using a HFCS condiment as a condiment (occasional and sparing) should be a concern — or am I being too lax here?

  29. that should say “Using a HFCS condiment as a condiment (occasional and sparing) should NOT be a concern — or am I being too lax here?”

  30. For a fascinating history of corn in America, including its journey from a highly resilient and malleable crop to HFCS, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s spellbinding, and disturbing.I vote for sushi, of course! (being from British Columbia, it’s almost a religion).

  31. I don’t think you’re being too lax, Mar. You know, I called DH after reading the article and told him and he said: “We don’t really eat that stuff. Besides, isn’t all that crap in the air and the soil and all that?” So I do think a reality check is good. I believe anyone here is doing the best they can for their kids, and shouldn’t be beating themselves up over it. It’s good to know, though. I’m glad to find out. Just one more little thing that helps me be informed. And, as always, it’s the poor that bear the brunt of bad decisions at the top.

  32. Mom-101 had a thread on this, too, and I posted my opinion (at embarrassing length) there. I’ve had a terrible morning with a tantruming toddler, so I apologize, I’ll probably be much more rant-y here.The report, which is from some policy institute and not the sources I usually like to get health studies from (e.g., academic labs, health research institutes, etc) lists mercury content in parts per TRILLION. The FDA’s limits for mercury content in fish is in parts per MILLION, and the EPA’s limits for mercury content in drinking water is in parts per BILLION. I looked up the recommended mercury intake limits (set with pregnant women in mind) and did the math for Oatmeal on the Go, one of the foods with the highest mercury levels in the report. You’d have to eat 30 breakfast bars in a day to hit the intake limit.
    So in short- I don’t think the amount of mercury found is worth worrying about. By all means, avoid HFCS if you want to, but if you don’t, I don’t think you need to worry about mercury poisoning.
    Probably it would be better to get rid of the mercury. I’d have to go look at the replacement process and think about its likely environmental impacts to have a real opinion on that. But I do think this report is alarmist beyond what its actual data supports.
    I’m actually getting quite sick of these sorts of “scientific” reports from policy institutes that clearly have agendas beyond accurately reporting health risks to consumers. I think they are preying on the normal fears of parents about the safety of their kids to get us worked up to support their agenda, which I think is a pretty crappy thing to do. I have a hard enough time sorting through the potential risks without these people using overinterpretted test results to add to my worries. I no longer take any report like this seriously until I go and read what they actually measured and compare that to the information in the actual peer-reviewed scientific literature.
    OK, end rant.

  33. Another soda non-HFCS option for you is Abita Rootbeer. It’s not generally available in the supermarket, but it can be ordered at any liquor store (along with their non-soda options like Abita Amber and Turbo Dog). They use pure cane sugar in it instead of HFCS. And it tastes really good in rootbeer floats. 🙂

  34. @ Cloud – Thanks for the info. I too try to take all of this with a grain of salt.That being said, I’m trying to cut back on the HFCS my family eats. Because I know eliminating, or reducing, it from my diet cannot hurt us. People lived without it for hundred of years and were just fine.
    We’ve had good success shopping at Trader Joe’s for products without HFCS. And TJ’s doesn’t break the bank like Whole Foods does.

  35. Cloud, thank you for that rant and clarification: the distinction between parts per trillion, billion, and million is indeed critical here, and reduces my anxiety level a lot. Your point in your comment over on Mom-101 (which is emphasized more in the post on Daddy Types) about the fact that this report was issued by a “research institute” or some such thing, rather than the EPA or the FDA, and was NOT subject to scientific peer review, is also an important point.(Can you tell I’m a librarian who spends her days convincing students of the importance of the peer-review process?)
    To Mar, I think you’re spot-on. Here’s how I think of it: yes, HFCS is not something we want to be eating a lot of. Yes, it’s in a LOT of processed foods. But in most of those processed foods, it’s either in very small amounts (how many grams of HFCS can there REALLY be in a slice of whole-wheat bread?) or it’s a food that we don’t eat in huge amounts – like ketchup. The major offenders, as I see it, are non-diet sodas, “juice” drinks that aren’t 100% juice, and jams/jellies. If we cut those out — and really, that’s a lot easier than reading every $#@%@!#% label in the grocery store — we’ve eliminated the largest part of the problem.
    So that’s what I do: no soda, 100% juice, and very little jam/jelly (and I try to get sugar-only versions, or even better, all-fruit versions), and don’t sweat the rest of it.
    And as for tuna, I’d always been under the impression that “basic” tuna is pretty much okay, at least in moderation: it’s the white/albacore/”fancy” tuna that you have to be wary of. Am I wrong about that?

  36. I’m with the ‘the levels are microscopic/don’t drink the ketchup by the gallon/wait for some serious research to come out’ team.There’s heavy metals contamination in all sorts of things. This one went by my radar with a shrug. Granted, we don’t consume HFCS anyway (or agave, which at least has trace nutrients in it). But the products were not really tested in a manner I consider ‘solid’, and the values weren’t shocking to me even then.
    Granted, I also read it from a site that said essentially ‘okay, so someone go test this for real and see if it is a valid concern, and then get back to us’. I agree.
    I get my science news as much as possible from journals, because everyone else spins it (okay, even the scientists spin it just by what they submit to publish and how they state the results, too, but the weightier the research, the harder they have to work to overstate the case – plus they have to expose the methods, which tends to make it more obvious when someone did a less-than-careful job of it).

  37. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, which I generally respect) has argued that the FDA’s listed amount of mercury in tuna is too low. That is that tuna actually contains more.At least mercury leaves the body, unlike lead which pretty much just sticks around.

  38. @Mar, it IMHO isn’t the HFCS per se that is the issue. All the problems linked to HFCS are the same with any high-fructose-load product or food. The average US diet includes 54g of fructose (compared with the amount easily absorbed for digestion in the liver, around 24g/day).Cutting back is the major point. BUT, cutting back on your apple juice (100% juice), mango, and wheat consumption will also improve your profile of consumption. It isn’t just the HFCS, it’s the honey, agave, pear juice concentrate, applesauce-base for fruit chews and leathers, apple juice as the base for most juice blends, etc.
    It is well known medically (it is in all the hospital handouts I have on fructose malabsorption) that some people are particularly sensitive to HFCS specificially – I’m one of them (I can do agave and honey and apples fine, but HFCS gives me rage attacks and depression, totally messes with my serotonin level I suspect – that’s a side effect of fermentation, and the sensitivity to HFCS may be related mostly to what bacteria live in your gut, rather than some genetic thing). Um, anyway, if you’re not sensitive to it, it’s probably fine to just dial down all your fructose intake, including but not limited to HFCS. If you react to it (not too hard to test for – avoid fructose for 4 days, then have a normal soda (but keep the rest of the fructose load low), and see what happens to your mood – and digestion – over the next 2-12 hours), then pull it from your diet entirely. If not, then just dial the whole thing back to a saner level. Quickest ways to do that are cutting out juice except white grape and froz concentrated oj, cutting back or out foods sweetened with HFCS (keep in mind that it is less sweet than sugar, so they use more of it to get the same sweetness), and keep a cap on apple, pear, mango, and pit-fruits (peach, apricot, etc.). It is okay to use things with just sugar in them (Nesquick powder for chocolate milk is decent, no red dye, no HFCS).
    But I will recommend the organic Trader Joe’s ketchup. It tastes like ketchup tasted when I was a kid.

  39. Thanks for all the ketchup ideas..now i have to go check all the labels. I know the store brand organics near me are not kosher, but I hadn’t seen the other brands. And, I know ketchup as a condiment is not the biggest deal (we don’t have the issues Hedra described, so a small amount is probably irrelevant), but this boy does NOT eat ketchup as a condiment. Anyway, I think I use this issue as one way to quickly guage food quality. As a nutritionist I once spoke to said, if the company went to the effort to not put hfcs in it, and we are going to be checking labels, then all around we are going to be doing better.So, less packaged stuff, and healthier choices among the packaged stuff, is only going to do us good in the long run.
    ok, off to go ketchup shopping.

  40. quick comments as i have a babysitter watching the bean as i finish up this chapter:1. anything label USDA organic should not have HFCS in it- it will usually have cane sugar or other natural suger.
    2. any bread that has the American Heart Association label on it (it’s a red heart that CLEARLY says american heart association- many brands put a red heart on their bread wrappers with some line about being heart healthy, it’s a way to trick you) won’t have HFCS in it, and probably has better amts of fiber/whole grains in it. some pepperidge farms bread has it, and you can get them on sale at target for 2 or 2.50 a loaf some weeks, stock up in the freezer if you have the space.
    3. any time you eat any whole food, or a recipe/meal created from whole foods (not the store, i mean something that didn’t come out of a box) you are less likely to ingest something that is bad for your body, period. honestly, we don’t have any idea how all of the chemicals that have been developed in the last century and used in our water and food supply/ingested by us will effect us in the long run- some things show up quickly as easily identified carcinogens but i imagine plenty more will be proven with time to have caused a variety of detrimental health risks. this isn’t to say that chemicals or chemistry is bad, or that science or progress is bad, but to re-evaluate who grows and creates our food, and what their motivations are, and what the cost is to the consumer and our planet. the point isn’t to be scared (well, i guess it is disturbing) but to be informed, and make your choices based on the best available information. rudyinparis is right that it is most often the poorest among us who bear the brunt of ill health effects from poor food consumption.
    4. we gave up hfcs a long time ago, but break the rule occasionally, never in large amounts if we can help it, because, the reality is, unless i never socialize or eat out again, or don’t eat convenience foods when it’s convenient, i may as well give up my lifestyle completely and go live in a van down by the river. i would caution that while the amounts of hfcs you ingest in say, condiments, may be small in quantity, it’s the fact that we eat an awful lot of foods that have hfcs in them every day, so it adds up quickly.
    5. sushi over soda any day of the week, and i grew as concerned over the amount of BPA found in cans to make me switch from canned tuna to the kind in a pouch. hey! another bunch of letters that gets me all worked up! agh!

  41. Thanks for covering this! I work on Oceana’s Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination, which has been working since 2005 to get the chlor-alkali industry to go mercury-free. Since then, 5 of the 9 plants that were using outdated technology at that time have announced plans to stop using mercury. To email the companies that own the remaining four plants and ask them to switch to modern technology, go to http://takeaction.oceana.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=11215In the last couple of sessions of Congress, we have worked with then-Senator Obama to introduce legislation that would ban mercury in chlor-alkali production by 2012. We will be working to make sure the legislation passes this year!

  42. Diane – no worries, my post was pretty unclear! I’m currently going through the 18 month sleep regression, except DS is 24 months and still not over it!!! ugh.

  43. I just don’t drink soda, at all, so I’d definitely choose sushi, but I prefer negiri (on top of a piece of rice) to plain sashimi.

  44. THanks for writing about this also – I am freaked out that nobody else is!I have been buying Mexican Coca-cola for years because of the cane sugar, but I just looked at the special gummies i selected from the baby aisle (thank you GERBER) for their lack of artificial colors, to which my daughter is very sensitive. First ingredient: Corn syrup. HFCS=corn syrup on the label? Are they writing it that way b/c it is more ‘baby’ friendly?
    Thomas trains filled with lead and baby food laced with mercury……this parenting gig gets harder (to keep the kids alive) ever year…….

  45. This is all so scary. Life is definitely going to be the death of me. I honestly don’t know what to do, other than to keep on consuming these things/live in denial. ‘Cause I loves me some sushi AND Dr. Pepper, baby! And I’m honestly never very successful with changing my bad dietary habits. Got to have it, but maybe in smaller doses.Can I at least pat myself on the back for not taking up smoking?? 😉

  46. @gwendomama- all corn syrup is not high fructose. Basic corn syrup is mostly glucose. High fructose corn syrup is made by using enzymes to increase the fructose content of corn syrup. I think they do this to make it sweeter.I think (but am not sure) that the FDA requires food companies to distinguish between the two on food labels. So your gummies probably have regular corn syrup in them.

  47. Hmm…I do love me some soda. But when I can find soda with cane sugar rather than HFCS, I buy it. I second the Trader Joe’s option for chocolate syrup and other non-HFCS stuff. I also found a bread option in our local grocery store that is sweetened with honey, not HFCS (Arnold’s, Soft Honey Wheat, I believe).

  48. GEEZ!COKE is my only vice. And I LOVE it.
    Everyday there is something else that we aren’t supposed to eat. I would buy a farm and grow my own food, except I hate bugs, and dirt, and rotten stuff, and animal poop…
    SO, no I guess I’m going to have to take my chances with the grocery store.

  49. An important thing to remember is that there is a difference between corn syrup and HFCS. So it is reasonable to expect some corn syrup in some candies/sweets because it is basic chemistry that is helping to get the smoothness/look that you want when making candy.As for HFCS, it can be a serious pain to search for some products that don’t have the stuff. It doesn’t make a person feel better when the new USDA secretary wants to nominate a lobbyist as head the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service. My hope is that there will be a serious overhaul of the FDA in the near future.

  50. You can make your own chocolate syrup! Do a search on the foodnetwork’s website for Alton Brown’s chocolate syrup recipe. We use it in part because it’s GOOD and lately because we just found out our little one is allergic to All Things Corn.Beware of lots of hidden renaming, like maltodextrose – which is basically corn syrup, and other not-identified-as-corn items, like citric acid and other things. Here’s a site where they talk about avoiding corn products – maybe over the top for this discussion, but useful for food sensitivity info: http://www.culinate.com/mix/dinner_guest/Take+the+corn-free+challenge
    And I have to second the Dr Pepper from Texas thing! I hoarded a six-pack for months … Great news on the Coke info, though watch out for the caramel coloring = corn-based. It’s everywhere!
    And, last, I second reading up on Michael Pollan; that is a great book but he has 3 others that are as informative and interesting, maybe even easier reading.
    Thanks for letting me vent …

  51. This is one of the things that totally took me by surprise but which I love about living in Australia: no HFCS and no partially-hydrogenated oils. Soda is made of water, SUGAR and flavor (ahem, flavOUR). Cookies (um, biscuits) seem almost like health food, the list of ingredients is so relatively short to what you’d see in the States. It has been so refreshing to read labels (old habits are hard to break) and just not see those items. In one of the first chapeters of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver talks about how many more calories US agribusiness produces than US population needs … they needed to come up with ways to get those calories into people. HFCS is one way. Corn subsidies, etc. etc. It’s really insidious.

  52. It was thanks to Moxie’s 60-Day Challenge when I gave up HFCS that we have a much reduced intake in my house now! It just bothers me that it is in so many products. At this point, my husband probably has the most, but he doesn’t care as much. The best way for us to cut down on the HFCS intake was by buying mostly organic for popular items that contain it (like applesauce and yogurts).I only rarely drink sodas and hardly ever have any sushi. So I wouldn’t pick either. However, I love fish and am so sad that I’ve really reduced my intake of that (especially salmon and tuna).

  53. Oh, and I also think that the term “honey laundering” is hysterical! I totally pictured jars of honey in a dryer to give it the “weathered” and “used” look, like they used to do with counterfeit money!

  54. @Mazlynn – Sadly, they want the Dora the Explorer shaped gummy candy “fruit” snacks. *But* I checked, and the ingredients include corn syrup but not HFCS. Perhaps I can continue to fudge this one…@Moxie – yes! honey laundering is a hysterical term! It had never occurred to me before a week or two ago that anyone would do such a thing. The mind boggles. But it’s good to know about.
    Hopefully, no one I know IRL is reading this and recognizing me, or they’ll know my fruit snack secret. I’ve had people chastise me for feeding my kids flavoured rice cakes as a treat. God only know what they’d do to me if they knew about the fruit snacks…

  55. ‘Honey laundering’ is funny, but scary – not only because of the source ‘tweak’ but because there was a huge toxic contamination of Chinese honey (I think it was antifungals used in the hives to prevent bee death) a few years ago (2? 3?), which produced honey with immense amounts of toxins. The honey was rejected by the US initially, but then was filtered to get the toxin load below the margin (still very high compared to most US honey), and what couldn’t be dropped below the margin was mixed with other source honey to get it below the margin. Many of the labels said ‘ultra-purified!’ – which makes one think it is more pure than standard raw US honey. Only, uh, not.Sigh. One of my sisters used to keep bees, but she got hit with the hive collapse disorder, and it took the fun out of it (5 of 6 hives collapsed within a few weeks)… (I have a sibling for everything, one of the advantages of having so many of them!)
    Anyway, there’s so much mess in the food industry, I hope the FDA gets a good overhaul. And some regulatory teeth would be good. (Don’t know that we need much in the way of whole new regulations, but the wrist slaps and looking-other-way stuff drives me nuts. Maybe some of each…)
    Off the honey topic…
    I agree that eating whole foods you cook yourself is a good way to drop the load of HFCS and dyes and so forth. There are a few prepared foods we eat from the non-organic lines (Crispix, cheerios, kix), but most of the rest is home-made stuff. It took me about 2 weeks to get into a routine where cooking dinner from scratch took no longer than cooking dinner using prepared ingredients. I was shocked. It took so much longer when I only did it now and then! I just didn’t have enough habits in place to take advantage of the repetitions. Once I HAD to do it (kids with digestive issues, yadda yadda), it became a no-brainer.
    So don’t let the ‘but my kids only eat’ or ‘but I have no time’ panic completely eat your brain. If you have no immediate pressing health concerns to manage, you can introduce home-made gradually, too. The point is to drop the load, not go cold turkey tomorrow. So to speak. 😉

  56. @Chaya, we buy the Safeway (Genuardi’s in our area) store brand organic ketchup. No HFCS, but I don’t know if it is kosher.@Cloud, thank you. It really bothers me when studies, reports, etc. are used to scare people, especially when panic is unnecessary. I work with water systems and have to send out reports every year that terrify people, when all they are finding out is that there are trace organics in their water and in such small concentrations that you’d have to drink 5 gallons of water per day for 100 years in order to see any ill effects. Drives me absolutely bonkers.
    @Moxie, yes! Honey laundering is hysterical. I envisioned Tony Soprano getting out of the trash business because his honey laundering empire had taken off, sort of like the Corleones and their olive oil.
    I try to avoid HFCS for me and for my kids, but I also try not to make myself crazy about it. There are so many things that are crappy for you to ingest and I don’t want them to grow up being obsessed with food, so I’m trying (TRYING) to teach them to eat according to Michael Pollan’s subtitle to In Defense of Food – “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.” I guess I’ll find out in 20 years or so how I did!

  57. Sushi — easy. I did not eliminate it during my 2nd pregnancy because I eat it so rarely (4-6 times a year?), love it so much, and think the non-mercury-related prohibition is just quasi-medical ethnocentrism. /end rant/aaaanyway … We are on board with “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” We watch HFCS consumption but try to maintain flexibility especially when eating out. I do most of my cooking from scratch simply because dh is so picky I have to control everything that goes on his plate.

  58. ok.. I haven’t read all of the posts… but one thing to know about mercury is that it is excreted from your body when you breathe. So unless you have a constant and large mercury load, your body takes care of it. So an occasional Dr. Pepper isn’t going to be a problem. When I read the article, it jsut said that it found mercury “above the detection limit”… I didn’t see that it was above any regulatory limit.In any event, it is irritating that there would be mercury in something you wouldn’t even think about. Especially if they can avoid it easily. Why not at least try to not poison us? 😉
    But… I still bet that the amount of mercury you’re willing to “accept” in tuna is a lot higher than the trace amounts in the corn syrup. Just make sure that you limit your HFCS as much as you can. Just like you don’t have tuna every day – one can of tuna a week is supposedly the maximum load for your body. That doesnt’ make me feel real secure about tuna… but somehow everyone has just accepted that.

  59. My rule in the house lately is that we don’t buy anything where HFCS is in the top half of the ingredients. And now we’re going to cut out sodas at restaurants. I’m also trying to teach MM to shop wiser than me. I’m having HIM read the ingredients and if he can’t pronounce it, we put it back.

  60. Just starting to read the comments -quick answer for Chaya at 9:25am:
    I buy Heinz brand Organic ketchup and it is labeled U with the circle, (O U), which, I believe, makes it kosher. The problem is that I can only find it in 15 oz size and it is almost $3. But, my regular supermarket has it, stocked in the “natural foods” aisles. Ingredients are: organic tomato concentrate, organic distilled vinegar, organic sugar, salt, organic onion powder, organic spice, natural flavoring. Depending on the food allergies in your family, who knows the reaction to the “natural flavoring.” My husband took a bit of convincing to switch to non-HCFS ketchup since it is darker in color and a different level of sweet. Worth it in my opinion especially since the 3.5 year old uses it quite a bit. We tried the Annie’s brand as a family and none of us really cared for it.
    You can buy it at amazon.com/grocery (use Moxie’s link above and then go to the grocery section and type ketchup) and can buy it there.

  61. Just starting to read the comments -quick answer for Chaya at 9:25am:
    I buy Heinz brand Organic ketchup and it is labeled U with the circle, (O U), which, I believe, makes it kosher. The problem is that I can only find it in 15 oz size and it is almost $3. But, my regular supermarket has it, stocked in the “natural foods” aisles. Ingredients are: organic tomato concentrate, organic distilled vinegar, organic sugar, salt, organic onion powder, organic spice, natural flavoring. Depending on the food allergies in your family, who knows the reaction to the “natural flavoring.” My husband took a bit of convincing to switch to non-HCFS ketchup since it is darker in color and a different level of sweet. Worth it in my opinion especially since the 3.5 year old uses it quite a bit. We tried the Annie’s brand as a family and none of us really cared for it.
    You can buy it at amazon.com/grocery (use Moxie’s link above and then go to the grocery section and type ketchup) and can buy it there.

  62. Just starting to read the comments -quick answer for Chaya at 9:25am:
    I buy Heinz brand Organic ketchup and it is labeled U with the circle, (O U), which, I believe, makes it kosher. The problem is that I can only find it in 15 oz size and it is almost $3. But, my regular supermarket has it, stocked in the “natural foods” aisles. Ingredients are: organic tomato concentrate, organic distilled vinegar, organic sugar, salt, organic onion powder, organic spice, natural flavoring. Depending on the food allergies in your family, who knows the reaction to the “natural flavoring.” My husband took a bit of convincing to switch to non-HCFS ketchup since it is darker in color and a different level of sweet. Worth it in my opinion especially since the 3.5 year old uses it quite a bit. We tried the Annie’s brand as a family and none of us really cared for it.
    You can buy it at amazon.com/grocery (use Moxie’s link above and then go to the grocery section and type ketchup) and can buy it there.

  63. I’d like to eightyfifth the suggestion of Dublin Dr. Pepper. It is awesome. No, no, it is awesome covered in delicious and wrapped in a big happy bow.Shipping’s kind of a bitch, but HAPPY BOW! It’s worth it!

  64. I think the term “honey laundering” is hilarious too! But not the thing…and lately have been trying to make sure we eat local honey (and local other stuff too) as much as possible. I’m not sure if this is true, but I’ve been told that eating local honey can help with pollen allergies, as the bees have processed the specific pollens from your area, making it a bit like an inactive virus innoculation. The person who told me was neither a doctor or a scientist, so don’t know how valid that is.Anyway, sushi!! Though I will drink a real sugar root beer now and then and gingerale when I’m sick. We try to avoid HFCS and other multisyllabic ingredients, and to cook fresh as much as we can when at home.

  65. If my math is correct, you would have to eat 2000 containers of Yoplait yogurt to get the same amount of mercury that is one can of light tuna (the tuna that has the lowest concentration of mercury).

  66. @TheLuckyGal: It’s a relief to read your post about the relative lack of bad stuff in Australian food (seeing as I’m also lucky enough to live here) but I’m wondering if perhaps, like in Canada, this stuff goes under another name. Does anyone know? (And thank god, I just checked the ingredients on a jar of Vegemite and it’s in the clear – or is it? Things could get ugly…)

  67. The local honey helping allergies thing is true, but it’s not like inactive virus inocoluation. It’s actually the opposite.Eating things tends to make your body think they are “safe,” so if you eat something, it ramps down the immune response that triggers allergy symptoms. You have to eat a lot to make a difference, but it does work.

  68. Oh, and my vote: sushi (even if it doesn’t really count, since I already don’t drink soda, except the very rare old-fashioned root beer with plain sugar at $1.25 each). Our local sushi place prides themselves on making their own syrup for the sushi, no HFCS. Mmmmm… now I want a spider roll and some eel and avocado…

  69. Honey laundering is scary, but it’s the olive oil laundering–some mfrs cutting it with hazelnut oil–that scares me senseless. I can get locally produced honey, but olive oil is too exotic to be grown here, and I’m deathly allergic to tree nuts. Yipe!I’ve heard that the Passover Coke has yellow caps on the 2L bottles (vs. regular white caps).

  70. Informative post! I like the pictures in your website, they’re impressive. Also, the idea in your post is quit eyes catching, too. Defenitely, I can learn something from your web. So, thank you again. Hope you a good day!!!

  71. Your client’s uinvraled success in the marketplace since the 1970s affords it the privilege of not having to concern itself with human health. As a result, the scientists and marketing agencies it has engaged to distort the truth and serve spin to the American public currently eclipse the message-dissemination capabilities of the movement for a natural, just food system. The USA Today article examines factors such as appetite, chemical structure disparities between HFCS and sugar and metabolic effects on the human body. What it does not address is the human behavioral component inherent in every individual’s decision to consume a food or beverage. Our government does not legislate the regulation of messaging by the processed food industry and as such, the public absorbs $33 billion worth of propaganda on behalf of products largely imbued with your client’s greatest hit, HFCS.Your client’s hired researchers are correct in that there’s not a link between obesity and HFCS. Given the lack of access to healthy, affordable food by many Americans, coupled with unbridled marketing of the cheapest, most calorically dense products, it’s a damnable and direct thoroughfare.

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  74. I just found your site, and I like it. But I see that I am three years behind in reading this post. Nevertheless,I would like to point out that Tuna has been all but depleted from the oceans, and they are hunted in truly barbaric ways. Even though they are more delicious than Dr. Pepper, we are doing just as much, perhaps more, damage to our earth, our children’s inheritance, by eating tuna. Please recommend foods that are local and organically grown where possible.
    Thank you,
    Lynne Mayo

  75. Im working with a wonferdul program called Harmony, Hope and Healing in Chicago that works among marginalized folks, many of whom are women who are survivors of rape, drug/alcohol addiction and prostitution. The program uses music and sound to bring healing and to help people find their authentic voices.It was started ten years ago by Marge Nykaza who partners with leaders of Chicago recovery shelters and community centers. It is a privilege to work with the women and men in recovery, the elderly, and moms with kids. I really enjoyed the story about Thistle Farms and the Magadalene communiity. We are on a similar path. May God continue to bless Thistle Farms and the women of Magdalene community. Thank you PBS for airing this story.

  76. Shandry: It’s incredible how many foods ctiaonn HFCS even foods you would not imagine! We are glad we are able to save you time and energy of reading all those ingredient labels with chemicals and preservatives. We hope you are seeing improvements in your health.Rhonda: Yea, mercury! How crazy. Congratulations to you for being pro-active and seeking out ways to live a better lifestyle. It can get tough when the foods sold at conventional grocery stores ctiaonn harmful ingredients, but we make sure to make it easy for you!Danelle: Thank you for letting us make healthy living easy for you! We will always provide educational information so that our readers lead healthy lives. Stay posted.

  77. A few months ago, a fenird of mine told me that High Fructose has mercury in it. From that time on I’ve been looking at all the ingredients in the stuff I was eating.WOW! It’s crazy how much of it is out there. Since thenI’ve been eating more naturally. Although I have been avegeterian for a long time, I am just now finding out aboutother health tips that I knew nothing about.Thanks for selling NONE of those products.Sincerely,Rhonda L. Kurihara

  78. Podliczajac calkowite dodane wydatki rozdzielnie, swobodnie sie w tym niedowolnym pogubic.Z poprzedniego ustepu byc moze byc konsekwencja, ze zamiast prolongowac termin splaty, poprawniej stawki po prostu nie wynagradzac lub odwzajemnic sie ja sposrod poslizgiem. Nie do kranca.
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  79. Do parabankow papugujemy sie skoro tak bywa wtenczas, podczas gdy nie wzdrygac sie nas na splate przyjezdnych zlecen.Nadzwyczajnie pokazna problematyka jest alternatywa odpowiedniego kredytodawcy, na zbytu Naszym rodzicielce wybitnie niewyobrazalny opcja oferty.
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  80. Od w tej chwili ich splata pochlania sie bank, w ktory owo zaciagnelismy debet konsolidacyjny.Powinno sie choc uwazac, albowiem nie dowolna pozyczka podejmowana w Necie w istocie taka bedzie.
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    RRSO w trafie debetow gotowkowych wynosi jako ze 30 – 50%. W kazusu wierzytelnosci osobistych w necie troche mniej – mniej wiecej 25%.
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  81. W takiej pozycji pierwsze co musimy uczynic to znalezc tuza, kto przedklada autorskie pieniadze do wynajecia. Wypatrujemy przeto obwolania „baby pozyczke” i przechodzimy do negocjacji.W gruncie rzeczy tym samym orientacyjny pozyczka pozabankowy przypadkiem stanowic oprocentowany na 20% w mierze roku (oprocentowanie nominalne, prawidlowe sposrod ustawa), natomiast procz niniejszego petent musi zaplacic jeszcze 5% dywidendzie, odwzajemnic sie naleznosci inauguracyjnego w wysokosci 100 zlocistych zas wartosc obslugi domowej – 500 niezlociutkich.
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  82. W takiej pozycji zupa co musimy zdzialac to odkryc iksa, kto udziela wlasne finanse az do uzyczenia. Dazymy tym samym zakomunikowania „dam pozyczke” natomiast kroczymy do negocjacji.Pozyczka jest to udzielenie zauwazonej sumki niemonetarnej za pomoca persone materialna czy tez instytucje na wyroznione zamiary.
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  83. O ile byc moze, zapytajmyz jak bardzo bedzie nieodwolalnie rownac sie.hodzi o zgrubnego zahamowanie sprzedazy debetow hipotecznych.
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