FDA Moves To Reduce Lead Levels in Baby Food

FDA Moves To Reduce Lead Levels in Baby Food

(LibertySociety.com) – In February 2021, the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy issued a report about the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in baby food. It stated these heavy metals were dangerous to humans, and expressed concern about the effect their presence might have on the brain development of infants and toddlers. Committee members called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action.

On January 24, the administration shared proposed guidelines for the baby food industry regarding the levels of lead it should allow in processed foods manufactured for those under two years old. The draft, released for public comment, set the limit for most fruits and vegetables, mixtures, custards, yogurts, and some meats at 10 parts per billion (ppb). The FDA also suggested a limit of 20 ppb for single-ingredient root vegetables and dry cereals.

In the announcement, the agency pointed to its own initiative called Closer to Zero. That program outlines its overall goal of reducing people’s exposure to environmental contaminants. The FDA stated that while it’s impossible to remove all arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury from foods, it hopes to lower the ppb as much as possible over time using research, analysis, regulation, and consultations with those in the food industry. This latest move is just one step toward that goal.

According to the CDC, exposure to lead can have devastating consequences for people — especially children — even at low levels. The heavy metal can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, slow a child’s growth and development, lead to learning problems, and affect hearing and speech.

Although news about the presence of heavy metals in foods might be alarming to parents, the FDA clearly stated the guidelines are merely there to reduce exposure and not a warning for consumers to stay away from certain foods. The administration advised caregivers to continue feeding their children a wide variety of foods to optimize nutrition and health.

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