Consumer Alert: Lead-laden baby snacks have parents looking for alternatives

Consumer Alert: Lead-laden baby snacks have parents looking for alternatives

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – This consumer alert takes a look at snacks, lead, and your baby. After our report in last week’s 4 p.m. newscast on lead in some baby snacks, my phone blew up. Many parents were especially upset. They chose these specific products because they’re marketed as healthy alternatives to other baby snacks.

Serenity Kids is marketed as being grain-free for those with digestive issues. And its website says the vegetables in its snacks are 100% organic.

And Lesser Evil’s website says it’s making healthy choices accessible and is committed to clean uncompromising snacking.

However, Consumer Reports testing revealed that in the cassava-based products of both brands, Consumer Reports found alarmingly high levels of lead. For example, Lesser Evil’s Lil Puffs Sweet Potato Apple Asteroid and Serenity Kids Tomato and Herb Bone Broth Puffs both had high levels.

But Consumer Reports researchers say by far the highest lead levels were in Lesser Evil’s Lil Puffs Intergalactic Voyager Veggie Blend.

“What we found is that even though it’s called Lesser Evil, it’s not,” said James Rogers, Consumer Reports’ Director of Product Safety, Research and Testing. “The two Lesser Evil products and one from Serenity Kids had concerning amounts of lead. In fact, one of the Lesser Evil products had the highest amount of lead in any children’s food that we’ve ever tested, and we’ve been testing since 2017.”

Asked why cassava-based products had higher lead levels he responded, “Cassava is a root vegetable and so the root is grown inside the ground. And if you’re planting those cassava plants in an area where the soil is contaminated with lead, it’s going to draw that lead up into the root.”

And so when that root vegetable is harvested, all that lead that has been absorbed from contaminated soil ends up in baby food or snacks. Representatives from both companies told Consumer Reports that it tests both the raw and finished products for heavy metals, and they stand by their baby snacks.

While Consumer Reports does not support processed or packaged foods for babies, if you do feed them to your baby, you should alternate with fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks. Knowledge is power. Consumer Reports has listed all its testing of products and the levels of heavy metals.

Here are links to more information on Consumer Reports testing on heavy metals in baby food.

Heavy Metals in Baby Food: What You Need to Know

Are There Still Heavy Metals in Baby Food?

Homemade Baby Food Is as Likely to Contain Arsenic and Other Heavy Metals as Store-Bought, Study Finds

Some Kids’ Fruit Purée Pouches Have Concerning Lead Levels, CR’s Tests Find

And here is more information about Consumer Reports’ advocacy arm which supports congressional legislation to protect babies and toddlers from heavy metals and pathogens in baby food.

CR supports congressional bill to protect infants and toddlers from toxic heavy metals and pathogens in food