A recent Congressional Investigation found that leading baby food manufacturers sold toxic products with high levels of metal. 


“Dangerous levels of toxic metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury exist in baby foods at levels that exceed what experts and governing bodies say are permissible,” said Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, which conducted the investigation, signed by the Democratic members.

Krishnamoorthi said in an interview with CNN that the spreadsheets provided by manufacturers are “shocking.” These spreadsheets show evidence that some baby foods contain seriously dangerous levels of these toxic metals.

“Yet we know that in a lot of cases, we should not have anything more than single digit parts per billion of any of these metals in any of our food.

Arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury are among the World Health Organization’s top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children. These chemical elements are naturally found in soil where crops grow. They can’t be avoided. However, some fields contain more toxicity levels than others. 

These metals have been linked to cancer, chronic disease, and neurotoxic effects that can be devastatingly damaging to a developing brain. 

“Their brain is forming rapidly, and so when they’re exposed to metals that can interrupt those natural processes, the impacts range from behavioral problems to aggression to IQ loss and all kinds of cognitive and behavioral deficits that can persist throughout life,” Jane Houlihan said to CNN. Houlihan is the national director of science and health for Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a coalition of advocates committed to reducing babies’ exposures to neurotoxic chemicals.

She continued, “Pound for pound, babies get the highest dose of these heavy metals compared to other parts of the population. So the consequences are serious.”

Gerber, one of the companies where internal testing was done, sent an email statement to CNN.

All our foods meet our safety and quality standards, which are among the strictest in not just the U.S., but the world. Gerber foods are backed up by rigorous oversight at all levels of the growing and production process. Where government standards don’t currently exist, we develop our own rigorous standards by applying the latest food safety guidance. As stated in our 2019 response to the Congressional Inquiry, the elements in question occur naturally in the soil and water in which crops are grown. To minimize their presence, we take multiple steps including: prioritizing growing locations based on climate and soil composition; approving fields before crops are planted based on soil testing; rotating crops according to best available science; and testing of produce, water and other ingredients.

Other companies where internal testing was done include: Beech-Nut Nutrition Company; Nurture, Inc., which sales Happy Baby products; and Hain Celestial Group, which sells Earth’s Best Organic baby food. 
As a result of these findings, is organic better? Not necessarily. According to the subcommittee study, it didn’t matter whether the food was organic or not. The levels of toxic metals in organic products were still high. 
To read more about this Congressional Investigation, click here.
Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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