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Turmeric Recalled Due To Excessive Lead

November 09, 2016

Turmeric Recalled Due To Excessive Lead

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a nationwide recall of certain ground turmeric products. Tests showed that brands of the popular spice contain dangerously high levels of lead.  Lead may naturally leech into the turmeric plant in trace amounts, or its presence in manufactured products may result from other additives intentionally included in these products as a cheap, but dangerous, substitute to bulk up volume and increase profits. Either way, lead can accumulate in our bodies and too much can cause serious health issues, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies, especially in children. 1

Fortunately, regulators discovered the bad turmeric shortly after the products hit the market.  Most producers, manufacturers, and regulators go to great lengths to detect and eliminate tainted or adulterated ingredients from entering the food chain. That task, however, is becoming increasingly more challenging for analytical labs as the global flood of products into the marketplace continues to expand.

In response, PerkinElmer is continuously introducing improved and new technologies that boost faster analytical times, more accurate results, and are easier to operate than what many scientists are currently using in labs today. The company has been a leader in atomic spectroscopy--considered the most effective method to detect inorganic elements like lead in food—for more than half a century.  With a full range of Atomic Spectroscopy systems from the PinAAcle ® Atomic Absorption Spectropmeter 2 and the Avio™ ICP-OES to the award winning NexION® ICP-MS, the industry’s benchmark analyzer for detection and analysis of inorganic materials. PerkinElmer continues to work with food manufacturers and processors to help ensure their labs have the best analytical instruments available to test ingredients to confirm that their products are safe, contain only what is listed on the ingredient label, and contain nothing more. 3

We are PerkinElmer, and we offer analytical solutions to help meet the growing challenges of a global economy.

The PerkinElmer products included in this story are for research use only.  Not for diagnostic procedures.


  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Update: Gel Spice, Inc. Issues Expanded Recall of Ground Tumeric Powder Due to Elevated Lead Levels,” FDA, August 5, 2016, accessed October 17, 2016.
  2. Jijun Yao, Renkang Yang, Jianmin Chen, “Accurate Determination Of Lead In Different Dairy Products By Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry,” PerkinElmer Application Note, 2011, accessed October 18, 2016.
  3. Editors, “NexION 350 ICP-MS Spectrometers, SelectScience, accessed October 24, 2016.

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