Since turmeric is a health food as well as a medicine, it’s essential to buy the high-quality stuff.
Low-quality spices aren’t just laden with pesticides: they can also contain traces of dirt, insects, and heavy metals.
In August 2016 alone, the FDA had to recall 377,000 pounds of commercial turmeric and turmeric-based products for potential lead contamination (1).
These products were mainly produced by Oriental Packing Co. of Miami, Florida, and were sold at Walmart, Amazon.com, and Target. Gel Spice Inc. of Bayonne, New Jersey, was also affected by the recall.
The complete list of products includes (2):
- Blue Mountain Country Mild Curry Powder
- Blue Mountain Country Hot Curry Powder
- Blue Mountain Country Hot Jamaican Jerk Curry Seasoning
- Jamaica Choice Mild
- Jamaica Hot Curry Powder
- Ocho Rios Jamaican Nice Mild Curry Powder
- Ocho Rios Spicy Curry Powder
- Ocho Rios Jerk Curry Seasoning Mild
- Ocho Rios Jerk Curry Seasoning Spicy
- Oriental Mild Curry Powder
- Oriental Hot Curry Powder
- Grace Mild Curry Powder
- Grace Hot Curry Powder
- Grace Caribbean Curry Powder
- Grace Caribbean Tradition Hot Curry Powder
- 2 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
- 15 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
- 0.75 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
- 2 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
- 0.95 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
- 8 Ounce Bottle Turmeric
The FDA warns that these products should be thrown away immediately if you have them in your home. The organization also instructs you to call 201-564-0435 between 8 AM and 4 PM Eastern for assistance.
The Dangers Of Lead
Lead is present in its organic and inorganic form in farmland throughout the world. Inorganic lead is also used in pesticides. Foods may also be contaminated through improper storage and processing (3).
The FDA has tried to set standards for ‘safe’ levels of lead exposure in various foods, but their standards vary widely from those of other developed nations.
The main problem is that even the smallest quantities of inorganic lead can be harmful. This is because the liver can’t process the heavy metal, so any ingested or inhaled lead accumulates in the body over time (4).
More specifically, the metal stays in the blood and in the soft tissue of the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, spleen, muscles, and heart. However, the vast majority of lead that accumulates in the body is stored in the bones and teeth.
The levels of lead you have in your body can be hard to detect because the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated (5).
- Developmental delay
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Memory loss
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count
Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health also warn that many Indian spices such as cardamom, fenugreek and chili powder, contain more than 1 microgram of lead per gram of product.
They warn that although theses levels are well below the European Union’s acceptable threshold of lead, which is 2 to 3 mcg/g, “the presence of lead in these products should be a reason for concern.” The neurotoxin is especially dangerous to children, who are more sensitive to heavy metal toxicity (6).
I Threw Out My Turmeric, What Now ?
If you want to replace your spice, only buy organic high-quality spices and spice mixes.
If possible, encourage your body to get rid of accumulated heavy metals by taking bentonite clay baths, increasing your intake of foods high in vitamin C and E, eating more garlic, and consuming chlorella and cilantro, which act as chelating agents.
You can also make a Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie by combining cilantro, lemon, pineapple, honey, chlorella, and flaxseed to flush away these toxins. Get the recipe here.
Here’s another recipe you can try. You’ll need:
- Two lemons
- A quarter of a cucumber
- One and a half apples
- Two kale leaves
- Two celery stalks
- Two spinach leaves
Blend until smooth. Repeat this multiple times daily for at least 3-4 days. Always use organic ingredients to avoid additional toxins during your cleanse.