For their July issue of this year, Consumer Reports have tested CytoSport’s popular Muscle Milk and a bunch of other protein supplements for heavy metals, and the picture isn’t pretty. Going by the maximum limits proposed by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, two Muscle Milk products were found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals (when consuming 3 servings a day): their Chocolate powder contains too high levels of cadmium and lead (along with considerable levels of arsenic), and their Vanilla Creme is too high in lead.
And CytoSport’s products aren’t the only bad boys of the bunch: according to the report, three servings of EAS’ Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake will also give you slightly more cadmium and arsenic than it really should, going by the same standards.
Consumer Reports also tested twelve other protein supplement products, and found some levels of heavy metals in several of those as well, but the Muscle Milk and Myoplex products were clearly the losers of the test.
This is pretty bad news both for the manufacturers of these products and their customers, and it is obviously something that is going to be dealt with in some way. Will we see products being recalled? I’d say that’s definitely possible. I’d also be surprised if we didn’t see public statements from these companies, as this is clearly a biggie and something they absolutely need to comment on. After all, in the age of Web 2.o and social media, you really can’t expect to get away with stuff like this. And I’m very interested to hear what these people have to say.
I could also see this flare up into a new debate on both the safety and efficacy of protein supplements. After all, the Consumer Reports article also state their views on how much protein they people “need” (take a wild guess as to the gist of it…) – which is of course something that has nothing to do with how safe these products are.
Rest assured: Not all protein supplements have been found to contain lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic or any other heavy metals. However, this report does highlight the need for a deeper look into the practices of nutritional supplement manufacturers, and as users of these products I think we all welcome that. Personally, I’d rather pay a little more for my protein drink than risk the effects of excessive heavy metal exposure.