FDA Takes Aim At Lead-Contaminated Baby Food With New Guidelines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) preps new guidance for lead levels and encourages manufacturers' feedback on how long it will take them to reduce lead levels.

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
March 14, 2023

A 2019 report conducted by Healthy Baby Food found that dangerous levels of lead and other heavy metals were in 95% of manufactured baby food. This report triggered a 2021 congressional investigation that confirmed the finding and furthermore found that leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold food with high levels of toxic metals. Since then, the FDA has been working on figuring out the next steps.

Although lead is in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children, the problem isn’t easy to solve. Heavy metals are naturally found in soil and are absorbed by plants. To reduce levels in baby food, farming practices would need a change. “Companies can require suppliers and growers to test the soil and the foods they produce, and choose to purchase from those with the lowest levels of heavy metals,” say Houlihan, author of the 2019 report.

Since the heavy metals are coming from the soil, buying organic or making homemade baby food, unfortunately, doesn’t solve the problem. In fact, a 2022 report by Healthy Baby, Birth Future, found lead in 80% of homemade purees.

The recent surge in research has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a draft guidance for Action Levels for Lead in Food Intended for Babies and Young Children as part of its Closer to Zero Initiative. Once finalized, the action levels in the draft guidance will reflect levels of lead at which FDA may regard food as adulterated.

Healthy Babies Bright Futures continues to help parents navigate safe food choices for their children. They’ve created an easy-reference chart for high and low-heavy metal foods, available in the link below.

Read more (via CNN, Health Babies Bright Futures)

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