Researchers have discovered that U.S.-produced corn syrup contains high levels of a dangerous chemical element.
The study – conducted by a group led by a former FDA scientist Renee Dufault and published in the journal Environmental Health – found mercury in detectable quantities in nine of the 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that it tested.
Dufault said that although she informed the FDA of her findings, the agency failed to respond.
Taking the cue from her work, another group looked at common foods and beverages containing corn syrup and found that many of them, including barbecue sauce, yogurt and chocolate syrup, contained detectable mercury levels.
"We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," said Dr David Wallinga, a food safety researcher at the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, who led the study.
In a statement, the Corn Refiners Association criticized the studies as inaccurate and "of dubious significance."
According to the Washington Post, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons of HFCS a day on average, but teens and other high consumers may take up to 80 percent more.
Exposure to mercury has been linked to brain damage in children.