Lead Found in Turmeric Highlights Need for Stringent Food Safety Checks
A new Stanford-led study reveals that turmeric—a commonly used spice throughout South Asia—is sometimes adulterated with a lead-laced chemical compound in Bangladesh, one of the world’s predominant turmeric-growing regions.
Many interviewed farmers and turmeric processers in Bangladesh traced the issue to the 1980s when a massive flood left turmeric crops wet and relatively dull in color. Demand for bright yellow curry led turmeric processors to add lead chromate—an industrial yellow pigment commonly used to color toys and furniture—to their product. The practice continued as a cheap, fast way to produce a desirable color.
While these recalls and previous studies found the presence of lead in turmeric, none have clearly identified the source (some suggested it might be linked to soil contamination).
Turmeric is a well-known spice used for seasonings and dishes like curry, but it’s also a widely used natural colorant. Popular for its bright yellow shades, turmeric provides a great alternative to FD&C Yellow No. 5.
Thankfully, Sensient has a robust program already in place to screen all incoming raw materials for heavy metals like lead, regardless of potential contamination sources. With Certasure™, customers can be absolutely confident in the safety of their natural colors, including turmeric. Certasure™ combines stringent quality testing, comprehensive vendor certification, full raw material traceability, and best manufacturing practices to ensure colors from natural sources meet all required quality, safety, and authenticity requirements.
Read the full article below.