Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CERC finds leading brands have copper and arsenic beyond permissible limits
5 mg/kg is the highest allowed limit for Copper in turmeric
That organic turmeric, you pay a bomb for, to ensure that you get a chemical free product may actually be laced with heavy metals. For, a Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) study has found presence of heavy metals beyond the safe limits in some leading brands of organic turmeric powder.
Pritee Shah, Chief General Manager, CERC said several brands had been making claims of being organic and it was the perfect time to test. “We chose turmeric because it is a commonly used product. Moreover, people pay a high price for organic products in the belief that they are getting better quality things that is chemical free and safe to consume. But our study has proved otherwise,” said Shah.
CERC tested six popular national organic turmeric powder brands for safety, specially for the presence of pesticide residues and heavy metals, namely lead, copper, tin, zinc, cadmium, arsenic and mercury.
Heavy metals can be individuals and compounds and many of them are necessary to support life. However, if consumed in larger amounts, they become toxic. They build up in the biological system and are a significant health hazard.
Because of lack of analytical standards for organic food in India, CERC followed the standards applicable to conventional turmeric powder as per the standards set by the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins & Residues) Regulations, 2011.
Of the six brands that were tested, none were found to have chemicals or lead or tin. Mercury and cadmium were within limits but copper and arsenic were found in three and four brands respectively
Fab India had the highest level of copper 7.20 mg/kg as against the limit of 5 mg/kg while Asal had the highest level of arsenic of 0.52 mg against the standard limit of 0.1 mg/kg.
Shah said they will pursue the matter further so that action is also taken in this matter. “We have also written to the various concerned authorities including the ministry of health,” said Shah.
On what precautions customers need to take Shah said, “Before consumers buy such products they need to read the label carefully. Write to the company and ask them what makes their product organic. These days we have companies calling their product organic and display certificate from several organisations both local and international,” said Shah.

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Danielle Weiner said...

The article says to read the label carefully for turmeric. You mean a company will actually list additives live arsenic on the label???

How does arsenic get in the turmeric in the first place? Is it in the soil where the turmeric is grown?

Unknown said...

arsenic, lead, cambium are in soil and get into plant from soil. India and China are most contaminated.

Unknown said...

Great consumer food article. I Rose Fanta am a CPG Recruiter for the consumer packaged goods industry. We are a food and CPG recruiting firm that recruits food manufacturing and consumer packaged goods applicants for CPG jobs and food manufacturing jobs and food science jobs.