According to a news story posted on politico.com, a congressional subcommittee is harshly criticizing more baby food brands concerning heavy metal contamination. The congressional panel is requesting the Food and Drug Administration to “speed up” its effort to launch the agency’s new baby food heavy metal standards.
Baby food brands such as Gerber mark on their packaging that they are committed to producing high-quality private brand baby food goods that are nutritious and safe. Walmart issued a statement saying that its requirements for food products always align with or exceeded the FDA’s standard concerning arsenic.
According to the article, Sprout Foods, another major baby food brand, was criticized for only testing for heavy metals once a year. The congressional subcommittee stated that this policy was “the most reckless testing practice among manufacturers on the market.”
The congressional subcommittee stated that all five baby food companies named in their report are answering the subcommittee’s questions and are providing information to subcommittee staff.
In 2017, the U.S. FDA began to evaluate the issue of heavy metals in food after an EPA study discovered that food was a “significant source of lead exposure for young children.”
The congressional subcommittee is now pushing the FDA to move forward and require baby food manufacturers to test for heavy metals in their finished food products right now instead of waiting for the FDA standards to be finalized. The subcommittee is also asking the baby food industry to stop producing baby food products that usually test high for heavy metals. For example, baby food rice products typically contain higher levels of arsenic than other baby food products. The contamination is caused by environmental contamination from pesticides used on crops many years ago.
Heavy metals occur naturally and as a result of pollution. Crops then absorb the heavy metals from the soil. Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are routinely found in baby foods such as spices, rice, carrots, sweet potatoes, and juices. Heavy metals can also be found in many other types of food, and experts believe that certain types of food processing makes heavy metals more concentrated. There are concerns that some food additives and vitamins used in products may also be contaminated with heavy metals.
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