Is tainting food with mercury a crime? Apparently only if you’re a citizen and not a major corporation or a United States government agency. One retired pharmacist was rightfully arrested after contaminating cafeteria food with heavily toxic mercury, yet no action has been taken against processed food manufacturers whose products are known to contain mercury. Nor has action been taken against the FDA, the organization that sits idly by as consumers continue to eat mercury-laden processed foods that make up on average about 90% of the US food supply.
It’s no conspiracy theory, the Washington Times — a mainstream news publication — was actually the first to report on the crisis back in 2009. Now more than 3 years ago, activist groups expressed serious outrage over the findings. Two individual scientific studies found the presence of the hazardous element mercury in nearly half of all high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) test samples. HFCS, of course, is a ubiquitous and oftentimes genetically altered ingredient that pervades the vast majority of processed foods. It makes sense, then, that mercury was identified in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products which listed high-fructose corn syrup as the first-or-second-highest labeled ingredient.
Despite calls by scientific organizations for the FDA to take action regarding the findings, they did nothing:
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.
Retired pharmacist Martin Kimber was arrested for adding mercury to Albany Medical Center cafeteria food, finding a small metal ball of liquid in one individual’s chicken finger meal. Of course what Kimber did was truly horrible and he should be rightfully charged, but are what these major food manufacturers doing differently? Furthermore, is the FDA any better for letting it happen? What’s more is that Kimber’s attempts of mercury contamination only affected a small number of diners, whereas the presence of mercury in processed foods affects the entire globe.
Kimber was charged with a felony — first-degree tampering with a consumer product. When will consumers stand up and demand that corporations and the FDA answer to why they have allowed mercury to remain in the food supply?