Turmeric Recalled: Seven Brands Contaminated With High Levels Of Lead

While recipes for foods high in Turmeric are currently trending due to the apparent health benefits of the South Asian spice, seven brands of Turmeric were recalled for containing "elevated" levels of lead.

Gel Spices Inc., the company that makes Gel spices, is leading the lead contamination recall. In business since 1955, the importers of spices and seeds have accumulated many sub-brands. Gel's extensive brand list makes six additional brands of Turmeric a concern. The company uncovered the contamination after routine testing, according to the recall statement.

"Routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' food inspectors and subsequent more recalled turmeric analysis of the product by the New York State Food Laboratory revealed the elevated level of lead."
The lead contamination in seven brands of Turmeric did not occur at a factory. Instead, the recall notice indicates that a shared distribution company is to blame.
"The products were distributed by various retailers throughout the United States. Sampling and testing of another product, produced from the same bulk turmeric, revealed the elevated level of lead."

Fresh Turmeric [Image via iStock/Savany]
Fresh Turmeric [Image via iStock/Savany]
Though Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties, no level of lead in food can benefit one's health. The FDA's official recall notice explains the dangers associated with high levels of lead ingestion.
"Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing."
Gel Spice products as commonly sold at big store chains like Target and Big Lots, causing officials to be very concerned. So, in response, shelves around the country have been wiped of these six lead contaminated Turmeric brands.

Lieber's/2 oz.

Lieber Chocolate & Food Products Co. Inc is one of the popular brands on the list of companies that had to issue an emergency recall of their Turmeric. This recall made be especially upsetting to buyers who stick to a Kosher diet, as Lieber's Turmeric claims to be a Kosher spice. Unfortunately, lead can disqualify the product as a Kosher food.

Spice Select/8 oz.

Spice Select Turmeric is also a cause for concern, as this Turmeric brand is often found in the gourmet spice section of stores. Being labeled as gourmet means it is usually priced higher and of better quality. But this particular Turmeric may have very high traces of lead.

Market Pantry/0.95 oz.

Market Pantry is the official store brand of Target stores. Therefore, people who shop regularly at Target may have Market Pantry Turmeric in their cupboards. According to Target, Market Pantry is a "family favorite, without the big brand price."

[Image via iStock/MSphotographic]
[Image via iStock/MSphotographic]

Clear Value/0.75 oz.

Clear Value is the official brand of Winn-Dixie, a southern chain of grocery stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Spice Supreme/2 oz.

Though, not an official store brand, Spice Supreme is a popular brand at Walmart stores. It is also typically sold in northern grocery chains like Acme and ShopRite.

Those unclear about which Turmeric brands have been recalled should consider these specific identifications from the FDA.

Brand/Description and Net WeightLot/BB codeUPC NUMBER
Spice Select/8 oz03/18/19076114007730
Market Pantry/0.95 oz05APR2019085239211038
Gel/15 oz04/18/19076114800867
Gel/15 oz05/16/19076114800867
Clear Value /0.75oz04/27/19036800354920
Lieber's/2 oz05/13/19043427006361
Spice Supreme/2 oz05/17/19076114364628

The exact level of lead contained in the recall Turmeric brands has not been specified. However, 10 µg/dL is the level of concern in foods, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The FDA reports that so far, no illnesses have occurred as a result of the lead contaminated Turmeric. However, those who have the contaminated Turmeric products in the pantries should dispose of them immediately. The FDA states that people with question or concerns about the Turmeric recall should contact them at (201) 564-0435.

[Image via iStock/vikif]