In early 2021, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform issued a staff report to warn the public of “dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals” in many popular baby food products. The House subcommittee that conducted the investigation into contaminated baby food discovered the following toxic heavy metals, all of which are particularly harmful to young children:
Consumer Reports indicated that these naturally occurring elements are typically only found in food when pollution, pesticides, or mining, among other farming/manufacturing practices, led to the use of contaminated soil or water. “There are dangerous levels of toxic metals in baby food, and the levels far exceed what experts and governing bodies say is permissible,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), subcommittee chairman, in conversation with Consumer Reports. It’s important to note that there's no real “safe level” of toxic heavy metals. As Consumer Reports put it: The lower, the better. Here's more information from Kansas City's product liability legal team at Peterson & Associates, P.C.
Negative Consequences of Toxic Baby Food
Several of the negative effects of repeated toxic heavy metal exposure include:
- Delayed or late puberty
- Poor physical health and development
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Decreased cognitive development
- Lowered IQ
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The subcommittee and Consumer Reports took care to highlight that feeding your child a toxic baby food product occasionally will likely have no effect. The real danger lies in repeated exposure to toxic heavy metals. Similar to toxic baby formula, parents are advised to avoid giving these products to their children on a regular and ongoing basis.
Which Baby Food Products Have Heavy Metals?
Upon hearing troubling allegations of contaminated baby food, the House subcommittee requested that seven of the most popular baby food product manufacturers in the United States participate in its investigation:
- Sprout Foods, Inc./Sprout Organic Foods
- Beech-Nut Nutrition
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc., the manufacturer of Earth’s Best Organic
- Nurture, Inc., the manufacturer of Happy Family Organics and Happy Baby
- Campbell Soup Company, the manufacturer of Plum Organics
- Walmart Inc., the manufacturer of Parent’s Choice
Gerber, Beech-Nut, Hain Celestial Group, and Nurture complied with the investigation. All of these manufacturers’ products were found to have high levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Nurture’s baby food products were found to have high levels of mercury as well. Gerber reported that it rarely tests for mercury; Beech-Nut and Hain admitted that they don’t test for mercury at all.
Baby Food Manufacturers Must Be Held Accountable
Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for their intended use. There’s very little regulation on these products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which leaves consumer safety and product regulation up to the manufacturers. No parent should have to see their child suffer because of a manufacturer’s negligence. We're ready to ensure such negligent manufacturers answer for their actions.