The study documented detectable amounts of lead, cadmium, and inorganic arsenic in commercial baby foods as well as other foods commonly consumed by young children, including infant formula, teething biscuits, cereals, and fruit juices. “Parents can’t shop their way out of these exposures by choosing organic foods or by switching from store-bought brands to homemade purees,” the study noted, because these elements are commonly found in many foods. The study recommended a number of actions that could be taken by government and food manufacturers to help address the issue. It also offered simple steps for parents to help minimize exposure.

HBBF is a member of the Baby Food Council, a broad-based group of food companies and academic, government, and NGO partners and advisors. The council seeks to reduce heavy metals levels in children’s food products to as low as reasonably achievable using best-in-class management techniques. Early efforts have focused on identifying foods and ingredients with the most potential to contribute to heavy metal exposure. The council will initially turn its attention to the environment, understanding that heavy metals are widely present in soil and water and may become part of foods as they grow.

Members of the Council are Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics), Cornell University, Environmental Defense Fund, Gerber Products Company, The Hain Celestial Group (Earth’s Best), Happy Family Organics, and Healthy Babies Bright Futures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration serve as technical advisors.


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