At least eight turmeric spice manufacturers have been forced to issue “voluntary” recalls of their turmeric products due to dangerous levels of lead found in their spices.
The official FDA recall notice can be found here, here and here.
It is no surprise that this recall occurred, considering most turmeric powders and products are usually grown in high-lead soils in India, and then imported into the United States.
According to the FDA page itself, “Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing.”
How Much Lead Is Too Much?
The FDA still won’t claim how much lead is too much to trigger a recall. Even though the FDA spot checks food and supplement manufacturers across America, they still refuse to tell the public how much is too much.
The FDA has never published any lead limit information for foods, beverages, or dietary supplements, aside from children’s candy. This means that any company can have products containing high levels of all sorts of heavy metals – even those labelled organic.
Turmeric Products To Avoid
The FDA lists the following products as being recalled due to potential lead contamination:
JM Exotic Foods and Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric have also been recalled.
The images below are provided by the FDA website for those who are unsure whether or not they own one of the brands on the recall list. The agency advises anyone who owns these products to throw them away immediately.
So far, no one has reported an illness from the recalled turmeric. If you just bought one of these brands, bring it back to the grocery store for a full refund – and let them know why!
The Dangers of Lead Exposure
Excessive lead is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children. When lead builds up in the body over months or years, that is when serious lead poisoning occurs. However, even small amounts of lead can cause serious health issues.
Lead poisoning can be initially hard to detect, even healthy individuals can have high blood levels of lead. It usually isn’t until dangerous amounts have accumulated that signs and symptoms start to appear.
Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
– Developmental delay
– Learning difficulties
– Loss of appetite
– Weight loss
– Extreme tiredness and fatigue
– Abdominal pain
– Hearing loss
– Developing pica (eating things that aren’t food, like paint chips)
Symptoms of lead poisoning in adults include:
– High blood pressure
– Joint and muscle pain
– Memory loss
– Abdominal pain
– Mood disorders
– Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
– Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women
If you suspect that you or your child has been exposed to lead through the above contaminated brands of turmeric, contact your doctor immediately and get testing done.
Who To Buy From Instead
The best way to consume turmeric is in its whole, organic, root form. Second best is buying in powders, but you need to make sure that the powder you’re buying isn’t dangerous.
Some good companies to buy powdered turmeric from are as follows:
– Health Ranger Select (buy here)
– Morarka Organic (buy here – testing on this brand can be seen here)
Unfortunately, not many other brands have been tested for heavy metals, even those that are organic. The best you can do is probably grow an endless amount of turmeric yourself at home.
If you have been consuming lead-contaminated turmeric for quite some time, you might want to drink this heavy-metal detox juice. The main ingredient, cilantro, is one of the best heavy-metal chelating herbs of all!