US turmeric and curry powders recalled for excess lead
By Tom Tarantelli
I have read the recent Australian report of Choice Magazine regarding oregano. [See https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/groceries/herbs-and-spices/articles/oregano-fraud (7 of 12 samples tested “contained ingredients other than oregano, including olive leaves (in all seven samples) and sumac leaves (in two samples). Ingredients other than oregano made up between 50% and 90% of the adulterated samples.”)]
I imagine that all spices including turmeric would experience the same amount of food fraud.
Turmeric has been reported adulterated with lead chromate, yellow earth (yellow iron oxide), yellow clay, industrial dyes, etc.
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, is recalling a spice mix (Jamaican Curry Powder) for excessive lead: see http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AD/alert.asp?ReleaseID=1088
Lead was ~35 ppm (parts per million), Chromium was high as well, Indian chromate test was positive. Therefore high lead is result of lead chromate. Chromate contains hexavalent chromium.
Here’s what OSHA (US - Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has to say about hex chrome:
"Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is a toxic form of the element chromium. Hexavalent chromium is rarely found in nature and is generally man-made. Cr(VI) is widely used in pigments, metal finishing (electroplating), wood preservatives and fungicides, and in chemical synthesis as an ingredient and catalyst.".
Also recently recalled by New York State:
July 22, 2016 Food Safety Alert Gel Spice, Inc. Issues Alert on Elevated Lead Levels in One Lot of Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric Powder. The Alert includes: “New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets … today alerted consumers to a concern for elevated levels of lead in Blue Mountain brand “Jamaican Curry Powder,” packaged and distributed by Eve Sales Corporation …New York.”
and the same product recall notice by the US FDA….
Gel Spice, Inc. Issues Alert on Elevated Lead Levels in One Lot of Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric Powder - http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm513844.htm
When a company announces a recall, market withdrawal, or safety alert, the FDA posts the company's announcement as a public service. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.
Gel Spice, Inc. is recalling one lot of Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric Powder because the product contains elevated lead levels.
The product was distributed at Big Lots Stores throughout the United States.
Routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ food inspectors and subsequent analysis of the product by the New York State Food Laboratory revealed the elevated level of lead.
Consumers who have purchased “Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric” should discard the product.
Lead was 54.1 ppm, Chromium was 16.9 ppm, Indian chromate test was positive. Therefore high lead is result of lead chromate, a yellow industrial pigment. Chromate contains hexavalent chromium, which is toxic.
Do Australians use much turmeric?
Ethnic groups that eat a curry spice diet would consume quite a bit of turmeric.
Also, there’s an interesting online training program called: Population effects of turmeric consumption on pediatric blood lead levels, which includes a poster. See https://apha.confex.com/apha/141am/webprogram/Paper286083.html
The poster includes: