Consumer Alert: Heavy metals in baby foods

Consumer Alert: Heavy Metals in Baby Foods

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Are companies even required to test baby food for heavy metals? No. Companies don’t have to test their ingredients or the finished products. So, parents have no way of knowing if their baby’s food has metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, or mercury.

While manufacturers are doing little testing, consumer groups like Consumer Reports have done plenty. It found the foods with the highest levels of heavy metals were rice cereals as well as snacks and meals with rice. Also, baby food with sweet potatoes and carrots tend to be higher in heavy metals.

What do they all have in common? All have had longer exposure to soil. While heavy metals do occur naturally in the earth’s core, most of the heavy metals that end up in your baby’s food come from contamination from manufacturing or pesticides. Babies are more affected by heavy metals and the harm can be lifelong.

“A number of the heavy metals have been associated with causing problems with cognizance in babies, behavior issues, causing problems with ADHD, problems with reading and learning, and so if they are exposed to these metals early in life, there is the potential that it can cause long term effects throughout their life.” 

And Tish James is leading a group of 20 attorneys-general calling out the FDA for doing nothing. She points out that the FDA created a plan in April of 2021 in which it set deadlines for issuing guidelines but it’s now backing off those deadlines.

The FDA’s plan from October of 2022 says it would issue final guidance on lead in April of this year. But look at the most recent dates on its website. The FDA says it will set a target of December of this year on lead.

And parents check this out, the FDA has set no targets for other heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.

So, what are we to do as consumers? Without the help of the FDA, we have to educate ourselves.

See the Consumer Report here.