August 16, 2016 — A massive recall for turmeric and curry powder spices has been issued after excessive levels of lead were discovered by health officials in New York.
No reports of illness have been linked to the products, but lead does accumulate in the body. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause permanent brain damage, developmental delays, and learning problems, especially in young children.
On August 5, Gel Spice Inc. expanded a recall for turmeric powders that were sold at a variety of retailers:
- Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric (sold at Big Lots — 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. issued a recall for 377,000 pounds of curry spices that were sold under 15 brands. The recalled products include:
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 in Bangladesh found excessive amounts of lead in turmeric powder. In 2010, several children in the Boston area were hospitalized with lead poisoning.
Researchers collected 86 spices and foods from Indian specialty stores in the area and found that 25% contained more than 1 microgram of lead per gram of product. The researchers estimated that 2.8% of children could develop a blood level of lead over 10 µg/dL.
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