FDA Sets Limits for Heavy Metals in Baby Food

FDA Sets Limits for Heavy Metals in Baby Food

The FDA has released its long-awaited limits on heavy metals in baby food. In 2021, Congress released a report detailing the shockingly high amounts of toxic metals in baby foods. The bombshell report left parents and consumers outraged. Babies were being exposed to unsafe metals, including lead, inside their food. This backlash set the FDA on a path to establishing guidelines for toxic metals in baby food. However, many are concerned that the new limits are still too low. 

Discovery of Toxic Metals in Baby Foods 

In 2019, Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) found toxic heavy metals in 95% of manufactured baby foods. Their testing identified four toxic metals that can impact a baby’s developing brain: arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. One in four containers from popular baby food brands such as Gerber, Earth’s Best, Beech-Nut, and other store brands contained all four chemicals.

The report inspired a congressional investigation that confirmed high levels of neurotoxins in several notable brands of baby food. It was found that baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with these dangerous heavy metals. Arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium are on the World Health Organization’s list of top ten chemicals of concern for infants and children. These toxic metals can have serious effects on developing babies, including: 

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Low IQ
  • Increased risk of criminal behavior

New FDA Limits on Toxic Heavy Metals in Baby Food

When more information became available about toxic metals in baby food, many were shocked to learn that the FDA did not have stricter rules in place. Before the new guidelines, the FDA only limited the amount of arsenic in infant rice cereals. The agency did not address lead, mercury, cadmium, or other baby foods outside infant rice cereal. 

In January 2023, the FDA released a draft guidance proposing action levels for lead in baby food. This draft is part of the FDA’s Closer to Zero, which aims to remove toxic elements in food over time. The action levels for lead in foods intended for babies and young children are: 

  • 10 parts per billion (ppb) for fruits, vegetables, mixtures (including grain and meat-based mixtures), yogurts, custards/puddings, and single-ingredient meats;
  • 20 ppb for root vegetables; and
  • 20 ppb for dry infant cereals.

In an FDA news release regarding the new guidance, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. said, “the FDA estimates that these action levels could result in as much as a 24-27% reduction in exposure to lead from these foods.”

Some Experts Say This Is Not Enough

Since these toxic metals occur naturally in the environment, crops take up these contaminants from the soil. While we cannot avoid these metals entirely, experts say that the FDA and baby food manufacturers could be doing more. 

HBBF released a statement on the FDA’s lead action limits and noted these levels “are not enough to protect the next generation of babies from harmful heavy metals in their food.” The statement expressed frustration over the FDA’s update, as the HBBF believes it does not bring us any closer to zero. In fact, the HBBF noted that only 16 out of over 1,000 baby foods they have tested exceeded the FDA limits. This means that the proposed limits would fail to make 98% of contaminated foods safer for babies. 

Also, the FDA did not include any lead limits for puffs and teething biscuits. HBBF said this was concerning since these have some of the highest lead levels. 

The Lake Law Firm Can Help You File a Heavy Metal Baby Food Lawsuit

The neurological and physical development of babies is very fragile. If your baby was affected by high levels of toxic heavy metals in their food, you may qualify for a lawsuit. A heavy metal baby food lawyer from The Lake Law Firm can help you if your baby regularly ate baby food with high levels of heavy metals and suffers from a developmental disorder or physical ailment. 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529.