August 16, 2016 — The FDA has announced recalls for several brands of turmeric and curry powder due to excessive levels of lead.
No illnesses have been reported. Lead contamination was discovered during routine sampling by inspectors with the New York State Department of Agriculture.
On August 5, Gel Spice Inc. expanded a recall for ground turmeric powder that was sold at Big Lots and other retailers. The products include:
- Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric (recalled on July 28)
- Spice Select (8-oz)
- Market Pantry (0.95-oz)
- Gel (15-oz)
- Clear Value (0.75-oz)
- Lieber’s (2-oz)
- Spice Supreme (2-oz)
On August 12, Oriental Packing Co. recalled approximately 377,000 pounds of curry powder sold under the following brand-names:
Blue Mountain Brand
- Blue Mountain Country Mild Curry Powder
- Blue Mountain Country Hot Curry Powder
- Blue Mountain Country Hot Jamaican Jerk Curry Seasoning
Jamaica Choice Brand
- Jamaica Choice Mild
- Jamaica Hot Curry Powder
Ocho Rios Brand
- 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
Last year, a study of children in Bangladesh found excessive levels of lead in turmeric powder. Out of 300 children under 3.3 years old, 78% had elevated lead and 27% had over 10 µg/dL.
In 2010, after several children in the Boston area were hospitalized, researchers visited 15 Indian specialty stores in the area and bought 86 spices and food products — 25% contained more than 1 microgram of lead per gram of product.
With repeated exposure, researchers said 2.8% of children could develop lead poisoning with a blood level of lead over 10 µg/dL. Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can accumulate in the body and cause permanent brain damage, developmental delays, and learning disabilities, especially in children.
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