Statement: Toxic metals found in baby food

Media Contacts

Danger to infants latest example of our broken federal food safety system

US PIRG Education Fund

WASHINGTON — A report released Thursday by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee said four of the seven largest baby food manufacturers have sold baby food with “significant levels of toxic heavy metals” dating back to at least late 2019.

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, which is part of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said officials had requested information from the top seven baby food manufacturers and four responded. The report said internal company documents and test results obtained by the subcommittee found the food contained arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. The subcommittee said it is also concerned about the three companies that “refused to cooperate” with the investigation because that “might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food.”

Toxics including these can cause permanent long-term brain damage and harm a baby’s neurological development, the report said. Research suggests these toxics also could be linked to future criminal and antisocial behavior. 

In response, Teresa Murray, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog, issued the following statement:

“This is unconscionable on two levels: First, companies that manufacture baby food should adhere to the highest of high standards. Second, we expect the federal government to adopt stricter standards to protect babies and the rest of us from food-borne dangers, and do a better job of alerting the public when there is a possible problem.

“The Food and Drug Administration knows from its own research these toxic metals are harmful to everyone, but especially babies and children. It’s time for the FDA to step up and set meaningful standards for heavy metals in baby food, and also require manufacturers to disclose on food labels how much toxic, heavy metals are in their baby food. Of course, baby food producers should ban toxic ingredients even before they’re forced to do so.”