Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Heavy metals found in organic turmeric brands
Organic food is believed to be healthy, safe to consume and environmental-friendly. 
However,Consumer Education Research Centre's recent study reveals the presence of heavy metals beyond the safe limits in six popular brands of organic turmeric powder. The study was conducted with the objective to check the presence of pesticide residues and heavy metals like lead, copper, tin, zinc, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. The amount of arsenic and copper present in the organic turmeric brands is proved to be harmful for health. However, none of the brands tested was found to contain pesticide residues. Lead and tin were also not detected in any of the brands.

Other metallic elements like zinc, mercury and cadmium were within the limits in all brands. The six brands Asal, 24 Mantra Organic, Fab India Organics, Morarka Organic Down to Earth, Sattvic Organic and Natural and Vikalp Organic Product were tested in the study. But samples of three brands did not conform to the limits for copper. Fab India had the highest level of 7.20 mg/kg as against the limit of 5.0 mg/kg. The level in 24 Mantra was 5.47 mg/kg and that in Sattvic was 5.71 mg/kg. Copper is one of a relatively small group of metallic elements which are essential for human health but longterm exposure to excessive amounts could cause liver damage, kidney failure, coma and death.

Copper also brings a significant fall in the percentage of motile sperms in humans. When contacted, customer care executive Mamta at Fab India Organics said she was not authorised to provide any information regarding this and suggested sending an email for further clarification. Arsenic was also found to be beyond the safe limit in four brands. While the standard limit is 0.1 mg/kg (maximum), Asal had the highest level of 0.52 mg/kg followed by Sattvic with 0.44 mg/kg. The level in Fab India was 0.18 mg/kg and in 24 Mantra 0.25 mg/kg.

Long-term exposure to arsenic from food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes. Consumption in childhood can cause health problems later in life. The samples were tested against the values set by the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins & Residues) Regulations, 2011. Uday Dhakan, Manufacturer of Sattvic Organics said, "Sattvic is a certified brand, we export it to various countries too. I will look into the matter and once I know all the details of the findings of the study conducted by CERC, I can comment."

Dimple Mehta, a home-maker who has been using organic food items for years said, "This is disappointing as now I don't know what a consumer should use? These companies charge lot of money from consumers as they brand their products as "organic'." Pritee Shah, CERC Chief General Manager, said, "Consumers pay high for organic food as they believe it to be good for their health. But the findings are shocking which implies consumers are not getting what they pay for. There are no analytical standards for organic food in India so, we have written to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Health and brought this issue to their notice."


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Earthen Delight said...

Science has established that the edible Organic Products offer superior Nutritional value leading to healthy lifestyle... Organic food exporters in India

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