Our “healthy” elderberry syrup contains heavy metals – really – just like most things that are not “healthy”.

Do you think “healthy” or “well” or “organic” labels on your food means extra special goodness? Sometimes it does and sometimes it does not.  Science can help you answer questions regarding the safety of food items within your home if you ever suspect a problem.

I was given a bottle of elderberry syrup, it came in a clear glass jar with a metal lid.  It had one label: a large oval label on the front.  The label looked like something someone printed off a home computer and the manufacturer information was not on the label so there was no way to tell who made the product, what the expiration date was or where it came from.  The label gave the user the impression of health.  Wellness words like “prevent cold/flu, well, purified …” were all over the label.  The label instructed users to consume one tablespoon every few hours at the onset of the cold or flu or one tablespoon a day to prevent the cold or flu.

A few weeks ago I sent a sample of this elderberry syrup to a food testing lab.  When the lab results for the elderberry syrup arrived, the findings surprised me.  The elderberry syrup contained small levels of mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium.

Pollution and natural occurrences of elements are our reality and several of the foods we consume contain heavy metals, but I find it extremely irresponsible to market something as healthy when the product contains heavy metals.  If a manufacturer makes a food product then it is his or her responsibility to get the food tested.  If the food tests positive for heavy metals (even if the levels are within the range deemed acceptable by the FDA) then it is not appropriate to market the food item as something special in terms of promoting health.

Beware of “healthy” foods in your home.  Know that if you have concerns about food items, food testing labs can provide you with details of what is in the sample and then organizations like the FDA can provide you with details on what levels are acceptable.

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