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Fact Sheet: CR tests find heavy metals in spices pose health concerns

Consumer Reports tested 15 types of dried herbs and spices used in a variety of cuisines for the presence of heavy metals.  CR looked at 126 individual products from national and private label brands , such as Great Value (Walmart), La Flor, McCormick, Penzeys, Spice Islands, and Trader Joe’s.

One-third of the brand name herbs and spices CR tested had high enough levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium combined, on average, to pose a health concern for children. Most raised concern for adults, too. Fortunately, many individual spices performed well in CR’s tests and contained heavy metals below our threshold for concern.