Report to Congress Shows Popular Baby Foods Contain Toxic Metals

Report to Congress Shows Popular Baby Foods Contain Toxic MetalsA report showing dangerously high levels of toxic metals in baby foods recently released to Congress takes aim at some of the largest baby food companies in the country. The report, published on February 4, claims these baby foods and snacks contain significant levels of heavy metals like lead and arsenic, which can lead to neurological damage in infants and children.

According to the report, titled “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury,” researchers obtained samples of various infant foods, including juices, rice cereals, snack puffs, and sweet potatoes. Among their findings, they stated:

...commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children. Toxic heavy metals endanger infant neurological development and long-term brain function.

In November 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy reached out to seven manufacturers of the most popular baby foods in the United States, requesting internal documents and test results:

  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
  • Campbell Soup Company (Campbell), including Plum Organics
  • Gerber
  • Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Hain), including Earth’s Best Organic
  • Nurture, Inc. (Nurture), which sells Happy Family Organics, including HappyBABY
  • Sprout Foods, Inc., including Sprout Organic Foods
  • Walmart Inc. (Walmart), including Parent’s Choice

The impetus for this investigation was a 2019 report from Healthy Babies Bright Futures that found 95 percent of tested baby food contained toxic chemicals.

Although the subcommittee reached out to seven companies, only four responded – Beech-Nut, Gerber, Hain, and Nurture. Walmart, Sprout Foods, and Campbell did not respond to requests to participate, with the report noting that the subcommittee was “greatly concerned that their lack of cooperation might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.”

One of the reasons so many of these infant food products are so high in heavy metals, the report says, is because companies test their ingredients, but not the finished product. After additives or processing, these foods and snacks can end up exceeding acceptable levels of toxic heavy metals.

The subcommittee’s report contains the following recommendations:

  • FDA must require testing of finished products, not just the ingredients
  • FDA must require manufactures to report levels of heavy metals on labels
  • Manufacturers should voluntarily phase out toxic ingredients
  • FDA should set maximum and universal levels for toxic heavy metals
  • Parents should be vigilant about baby foods that contain toxic metals, like rice products

If your baby or child was injured by a defective product, the attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas can help, protecting your right to compensation and holding the proper parties responsible. Our Los Angeles product liability attorneys are here for you. Get in touch with us today to schedule a remote review of your case. Call 310-474-1582, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us about yourself.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.