Monday, June 14, 2010


Cadmium poisoning has never been heard before and the recent report about such a possibility therefore comes as a "bolt out of the blue". Japanese, consuming rice grown in Cadmium contaminated water, were reported to have encountered a disease by name "itai-itai" but not much is known about its seriousness or severity. The latest Cadmium scare in the US, fortunately, did not had any thing to do with food and the fast food chain McDonald's, only took a precaution realizing the potential for harm by recalling all the beverage glasses offered as part of its promotional campaign suspecting Cadmium tainting. Though Cadmium can be poisonous to humans at certain levels, it is unlikely that their concentration in foods consumed every day will reach such harmful levels. How ever smokers are more vulnerable to Cadmium poisoning because of the propensity of lungs to absorb this contaminant more efficiently than the gastrointestinal system in humans.

"McDonald's decision to recall 12 million "Shrek" beverage glasses that contain cadmium in their colored designs bears the hallmarks of a classic product-safety scare. Cadmium is a known carcinogen, and the Illinois-based fast-food giant was selling the glassware in a large-scale promotion tied to the popular children's film franchise. But as more information emerged Friday, events surrounding the recall became less clear. Federal regulators indicated the "Shrek" glasses do not pose a hazard. Yet that statement is difficult to quantify because there is a dearth of federal standards regarding acceptable levels of cadmium, an element found in everything from leafy green vegetables to cigarettes".

Printing inks used for multi colored graphics in food packages have not received the critical attention they deserve, especially in India where no standards appear to be in place for the printing industry to adhere to on food packages. Migration of some of the toxic chemicals contained in the inks into the food inside, can pose health hazards, with children being more vulnerable. A critical look at this area now may help to prevent any unlikely contingency in future on this count.


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