Including arsenic, cadmium and lead. Perhaps it’s because our system doesn’t include keeping us safe from these toxins. For example, heavy metals are even found in our farmlands as I discovered from NIH while researching this article. Further, Laura Shumow, executive director of ASTA , American Spice and Trade Association, claims that “It’s almost impossible to rid herbs and spices of all heavy metals because of the ‘unavoidable presence in the environments where they are grown‘. The amount of heavy metals absorbed from the soil and part of the plant where they can end up, differs from plant to plant.”
And they want to take over our food source?!
No standard of threshold has been formulated yet as to what is deemed as “acceptable”, of course. FDA hasn’t tested spices for metals in years. Reason? The spice industry (like the pharma industry) is self regulated, and the spice industry chooses to focus on testing for bacterial contamination like salmonella rather than heavy toxins. There are two states, California for one, which requires products that exceed limits for substances known to cause cancer or reproductive harm (including heavy metals) carry a warning label. New York, as another, is currently the only state that has enacted limits for heavy metals in spices.
Roughly 1/3 of tested products, 40 in total had high enough levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead combined, on average, to pose a health concern for children when regularly consumed in typical serving sizes. Most raised concern for adults too.
There was no single brand that stood out as being completely safe across the board.
There are 3 consumer class action lawsuits currently making their way through the court system.