By Jackie Bowen
In February 2021, the results of a congressional investigation revealed levels of arsenic, lead and other toxic metals in many popular baby foods, including several organic brands. A U.S. House Subcommittee requested internal data from seven companies, including Walmart, Gerber, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best Organics and Happy Family Organics. The documentation demonstrates worrisome levels of toxic metals in popular infant cereals, snack puffs and rice cakes – up to 91 times the arsenic level, 177 times the lead level, 69 times the cadmium level and five times the mercury levels established as acceptable by the Food and Drug Administation (FDA). This, as government, academics, and research outlets confirm and reference the short and long-term adverse health impacts that these toxins can have on the developing brain and immune system. The resulting parent and media backlash was swift and harsh with lawsuits, social media, and mainstream media outlets ablaze.
On March 25, Congress introduced the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 in an effort to minimize toxic metals in foods targeting America’s most vulnerable populations. Once the act comes into effect, baby food manufacturers will have to comply with the following thresholds: