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Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

Researchers Say 17 Products Tested Had Some Mercury; Industry Group Says Syrup Is Safe
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Companies Respond

WebMD contacted the makers of all 17 products that tested positive for mercury in Wallinga's report.

ConAgra Foods, which makes Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe and Hunt's Tomato Ketchup, is "absolutely confident in the safety of our products," ConAgra Foods spokeswoman Stephanie Childs tells WebMD.

Childs notes that "the levels of mercury reported in our ketchup are well below the EPA's safe exposure level. In fact, we estimate that you'd have to eat more than 100 pounds of ketchup per day to even come anywhere near the EPA's safe exposure level in terms of mercury.

A spokeswoman for Kraft Foods, Adrienne Dimopoulos, tells WebMD that Kraft has not had time to review the study's findings. However, "Kraft Foods' highest priority is the safety and quality of our products and the safety of our consumers. All of the ingredients we use are approved and deemed safe for food use by regulatory agencies, including the US FDA."

Amy Reilly, a spokeswoman for Target, which makes Market Pantry Grape Jelly, tells WebMD that Target is carefully evaluating the information and that "Target looks to the Food and Drug Administration to provide guidance on the safety of food additives and ingredients."

An FDA spokesperson tells WebMD that the FDA takes mercury contamination in food very seriously and that methylmercury is the form of mercury that's of the greatest concern. Dietary exposure to methylmercury comes almost exclusively from fish, and the new research on mercury in high fructose corn syrup doesn't provide enough information or analysis because it focuses on total mercury levels and the potential levels of exposure are extremely low, the spokesperson notes. 

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