October 16, 2018

Imported Hot Sauces Contain Elevated Lead Levels

A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health has found that some imported hot sauce products have elevated lead levels. Lead is a toxin that causes behavior problems, kidney damaged, lowered IQ, and slowed growth. At very high levels, lead consumption can lead to loss of developmental skills, aggressive behavior, seizures, and coma.

warning recall signProducts that contain chili peppers and salt often contain lead. The toxic metal has been found in Mexican candies, and now hot sauces are under the microscope.

Twenty-five bottles of imported hot sauce that were made in Mexico and South America were purchased in Nevada. All were analyzed for lead concentrations, pH, and lead in the packaging. Four brands of the hot sauces exceeded 0.1 ppm of lead, which is the current level for prompting FDA action when found in candy. The brands were all different, but were all imported from Mexico.

There is no known safe level for exposure to lead, but children are more susceptible to its dangers than adults. The study’s authors warn that if hot sauce is a regular part of a child’s diet they could be consuming unsafe levels of lead. The study states that FDA and USDA should create standards to protect consumers from these products and enforce existing standards. The authors say that government should set 0.1 ppm as the unsafe level for lead in hot sauces, just as it is in candy.

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