There’s been a lot of attention in the media about the ill effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Most of the attention has been on its contribution to obesity, diabetes and a whole slew of chronic disease. A recent study in the journal Environmental Health shows that HFCS also appears to be routinely contaminated with mercury. Much HFCS as well as thousands of other products including the food preservatives citric acid and sodium benzoate are made using mercury grade caustic soda. Mercury is a toxic metal that has historically been used as an anti-microbial agent. It is also a very powerful poison that can have devastating effects on one’s health. Mercury contamination of soft drinks or drink mixes from this caustic soda was acknowledged by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies as early as 2000 (Alternative Medicine Review 2009;14:110). Some of the products containing the highest levels of mercury were: Quacker Oatmeal to Go (nearly six times the amount found in Classic Coke!), Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, Smucker’s Strawberry Jam and Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce. A complete list can be accessed here. There’s a very simple way to avoid these contaminators- eat food. Don’t shop in the middle of the grocery store where most of these pre-packaged foods are found. Foods containing HFCS should come with a warning label similar to that found on cigarette packages. Do yourself a favor and make a commitment to eliminate it from your diet.