Attorney General urging FDA to set standards for toxic metals in baby food



NEW YORK (WWTI) — New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, is urging the Food and Drug Administration to set standards to remove toxic metals from baby foods. James wrote to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock on Monday asking the FDA to follow recent congressional recommendations that would set standards for all baby food, expanding from rice cereal, and would require all food manufacturers to test their finished products for toxic metals.

Specifically, a recent report published by the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy determined that there are high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods being sold by at least four of the nation’s seven largest manufactures. Such toxic metals included arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.

These manufacturers include:

  • Nurture, Inc., which sells Happy Family Organics, including baby food products under the brand name HappyBABY
  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
  • Hain Celestial Group, which sells baby food products under the brand name Earth’s Best Organic
  • Gerber
  • Campbell’s Soup, which sells baby food products under the brand name Plum Organics
  • Walmart, which sells baby food products through its private brand Parent’s Choice
  • Sprouts Organic Foods

According to the report, even low levels of exposure to these metals can cause serious and irreversible damage to brain development. AG James added that the FDA recently regulated the level of inorganic arsenic in rice cereal for infants at a maximum of 100 parts per billion, which still remains 10-times greater than what is allowed for bottled water.

Attorney General James commented on these findings:

“Right now, parents across the nation are unknowingly feeding their babies dangerous, toxic metals because these companies are not doing their due diligence to protect our children,” said Attorney General James. “This shouldn’t be controversial, this shouldn’t even be a question, unsafe levels of arsenic and other toxic metals do not belong in baby food. Period. But after four years of an administration that catered to the business community’s profits over the health and safety of our families, this report has spotlighted a disturbing issue affecting parents buying baby food every day. I’m calling on the FDA to do its job and ensure the health and safety of every child in America by setting uniform standards related to toxic metals across all baby foods. Our families cannot accept any less.”

James says that three manufacturers—Walmart, Campbell’s, and Sprouts—refused to cooperate with the congressional investigation. She also claimed that baby food manufacturers set their own internal standards for levels of toxic metals, and that some still do not comply.

The letter from the attorney general urged the FDA to take immediate action by implementing recommendations set by the congressional report and setting uniform standards related to toxic metals in all baby food. James also stated that she is simultaneously exploring all legal options regarding this matter.

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