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Mar 20, 2010 05:44 AM

Lead found in Indian Spices? Is it safe to eat Indian Resturant food?? [from Boston Board]
Please read the recent Boston Globe article. I won't be feeding my kids any Indian Food until I know it's safe.

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  1. I think a few points need clarification:

    1. Your reference to 'Indian Spices', per the article, specifically refers to spices imported from India. Spices common in Indian food that are *NOT* imported from India weren't a part of this study and there is no evidence about them whatsoever. (at least as part of the study that was the topic of the article)

    2. The harmful levels were found in substances that are *not* food substances: rather they are rubbed on the body in cultural ceremonies. Since I think (?) lead can be transmitted that way that might make such substances unsafe, but that has nothing to do with eating in a restaurant. Per the article, "Lead showed up as well in a quarter of the food products they tested, though at low levels". To understand the significance of that last statement and eating in Indian restaurants, one would also have to know a.) where said restaurant gets their spices and b.) whether or not lead is also present in low levels in other foods served in many other restaurants (I have no idea whether it is or not, perhaps someone else on the board can weigh in on this issue, although the article does in fact imply that it has been found in other imported foods as well).

    Per the lead author of the study: “To us, the take-home message is that immigrant families are most at risk,’’ said lead author Cristiane Gurgel Lin of Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.... “For the consumer, the bottom line is awareness. You can continue your regular practices, but be aware of what you are putting in your mouth.’’

    I am sure that is good advice for any food from anywhere where safety might be an issue. Ground beef comes immediately to mind.