An investigation by Consumer Reports has found toxic heavy metals in dozens of herbs and spices under common brand-names.
“We tested 126 products and found that roughly a third had combined levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium that were high enough to raise health concerns,” warned Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Lisa Gill.
Overall, 40 products had high enough levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium to pose a health risk for children when regularly consumed in typical serving sizes. Most also raised concerns for adults.
For example, all of the oregano and thyme products that were tested had “concerning” levels of heavy metals. And in 31 products, lead levels exceeded the maximum daily amount anyone should have.
Heavy metals have also been found in baby foods, especially those containing rice and fruit juices.
The American Spice Trade Association says it’s almost impossible to rid herbs and spices of all heavy metals due to “the unavoidable presence in the environments where they are grown.”
The good news is that many products did not test positive for heavy metals, according to Consumer Reports — including black pepper, curry powder, coriander, saffron, white pepper, and garlic powder,
However, if you use a lot of basil, oregano, and thyme, Consumer Reports suggested growing and drying your own herbs with soil that carries the OMRI Listed seal, or it has been tested for heavy metals.