Consumer Reports finds trace levels of heavy metals in common dried herbs, spices

Some store-bought dried herbs and spices may contain heavy metals, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation. About a third of the products tested from a variety of brands including Penzey’s, McCormick, Walmart’s Great Value, and Trader Joe’s contained high enough levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium that, when combined, could pose a health concern for children who consume them regularly (defined as ¾ teaspoon or more per day). The worst offenders were oregano and thyme: Every single sample contained trace amounts of the compounds tested. On the bright side, only three of 126 products tested for enough heavy metal content to earn a rating of “high concern.”

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