Heavy Metals in Baby Food – All You Need to Know
A recent Staff Report out of the United States House of Representatives has sent the parenting world into overdrive surrounding concerns over perchlorate, mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. The report in question claimed that a number of known baby formula and baby food brands contain a worrying level of the aforementioned heavy metals. The big-name brands include Sprout Foods, Inc, Walmart brand Parent’s Choice, Nurture Inc brands HappyBaby and Happy Family Organics, Gerber, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Campbell Soup Company’s Plum Organics, and Hain Celestial Group Inc brand Earth’s Best Organic.
This Staff Report, which was drafted by The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Committee on Oversight and Reform, was actually a response to a study from back in 2019, which was originally conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF), a non-profit. This study looked at 168 products from 61 different brands of baby food and formula, testing levels of toxic heavy metals. Of course, as with any consumable product in the United States, tests and standards are maintained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, there is no maximum for heavy metals found in baby food and formula products.
The reality of the situation is that heavy metals are trace ingredients found in most foods, especially food that grows in the Earth. That being said, the levels can be increased by environmental contamination. So, it becomes a question of whether these products have more than a natural amount of heavy metal, and whether the amount should be considered ‘too much’. The human body, more specifically the kidneys and liver, has the ability to filter heavy metals out of our system. Unfortunately, not every person can do this as efficiently as others.
When these baby foods were tested, there were some worrying levels of heavy metals:
- 91x arsenic
- 177x lead
- 69x cadmium
- 5x mercury
As such, some experts have argued that the current FDA rules are simply not strict enough on this matter. Even though the vast majority of baby food and formula you buy at the store is still safe to consume, and the heavy metals are unlikely to pose a high risk, it is thought that any controllable exposure to added heavy metals should be… well, controlled.
What about Europe?
There are different guidelines and regulations in Europe, with Merieux NutriSciences being one such agency in charge of analyzing and consulting on baby food products. Their website states clearly that: “Requirements and limits for contaminants and residues in baby food are very stringent, with much lower levels than any other non-baby food product: pesticides, veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, heavy metals, etc. must meet strict requirements to ensure safety and quality.”
The general rule for most of these types of regulations is that Europe has instilled far stricter guidelines than the United States. However, even with the US levels in some baby food brands, it would still take an incredible amount of heavy metal to actually become a problem. Of course, parents always want what’s best for their little ones, and that means reducing a tiny risk into a minuscule one.
As such, we have taken every available step to ease your fears by stocking European baby formula rather than American alternatives. With the more comprehensive regulations from the European Commission, we feel safe knowing that we are providing the very best and safest products for your baby. Even beyond the issue of heavy metals, European baby formula include better quality ingredients and often removes additives found in many US versions. Not to mention the fact that European organic products have to include a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. Only the best for your little ones!
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If you have any questions about this topic or any of the products in our store, feel free to reach out and get in touch.