2018-2019 Lead Chromates in Spices Data
Lead chromate is a lead-based chemical that has been used illegally to add or enhance colour to brightly coloured yellow spices such as turmeric. Lead occurs naturally in the environment and consumers are exposed to low levels of lead in food, drinking water, air, dust and soil. It is neurotoxic, can cause anaemia, hypertension, immunotoxicity and can be toxic to kidneys and reproductive organs. This survey was created to monitor lead chromate adulteration in spices available on the Canadian retail market. There is no Health Canada (HC) established maximum limit for lead in spices.
Chromium is a naturally occurring element in rocks, plants, soil, animals, volcanic dust and gases. It occurs in the environment in 2 main forms: trivalent chromium (Cr III) and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI). Exposure to chromium is mainly through ingestion of food and water and inhalation. Cr III is an essential mineral in humans necessary for glucose, protein and fat metabolism. Cr VI is most commonly produced by industrial processes and can be found in lead chromate. Cr VI is toxic and carcinogenic and can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory and neurological issues. There is no HC established maximum limit for chromium in spices.
A total of 131 yellow and red coloured spice samples such as turmeric, curry powders and paprika were collected from retail and tested for indications of adulteration with lead chromate. None of the samples in this survey were found to contain elevated levels of lead or chromium. All results were reviewed by HC's Bureau of Chemical Safety who determined that none of the samples were considered a health risk to consumers.
- Publisher - Current Organization Name: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Publisher - Organization Section Name: Science
- Licence: Open Government Licence - Canada
Data and Resources
2018-2019 Lead Chromates in Spices DataCSVEnglish French dataset CSV