Some members of Congress are calling for tighter regulations on baby food manufacturers after they say toxic metals that can harm a child’s brain development were found in some leading brands of baby food.
The investigation conducted by a House oversight committee was released Thursday. It claims high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury are present in baby food brands manufactured by Nurture Inc, Hain Celestial Group Inc, Beech-Nut Nutrition and Gerber, a unit of Nestle.
Sprouts Organic Foods, Walmart (which sells Parent’s Choice Baby Food), and Campbell’s Soup Company (which sells Plum Organics baby food) refused to cooperate with the federal investigation.
The report claims dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury were indicated in spread sheets shared with the investigators by the manufacturers.
The World Health Organization includes arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in its list of top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children because the compounds are linked to chronic illness and developmental impacts.
So far, the manufacturers in question have not been ordered to recall their products based on these findings. An updated list of recalled baby food products can be found on Very Well Family, an organization that partners with the Cleveland Clinic to provide health and wellness information.
The alarm about the potential for toxic metals in baby food was first raised in a 2019 report by the nonprofit Healthy Babies Bright Future.
The authors of the report are now arguing for mandatory testing of any baby food product before it hits the shelves and they’re calling for legislation to more closely monitor and control the products sold by manufacturers.
According to the report, parents are advised to avoid baby foods that contain ingredients testing high in toxic heavy metals, such as rice products because the soils the grain is grown in may have been contaminated with pesticides. The FDA recommends parents feed their babies a variety of grain-based cereals, not just rice products.
Parents who are concerned about the findings of this report should focus their child’s diet on unprocessed fruits and vegetables, according to the committee.