Baby Food with some Nasty Surprises
You may want to put that popular baby food back to its shelf before you give it to your little one. According to a study released in October 2017, popular food brands, including 80% of infant formulas obtained positive results for harmful ingredients like arsenic, lead, and BPA (industrial chemical bisphenol A).
The nonprofit group, Clean Label Project, who advocates for transparent labeling, tested 530 baby products, which were purchased within 5 months before the study release. 65% of the tested products had arsenic, 36% tested positive for lead, 60% had BPA, and 58% were positive for cadmium, which is a toxic metal found in soil and smoking products.
The most popular brands including Gerber, Enfamil, Plum Organics and Sprout were the worst offenders, according to Clean Label Project. These brands tested positive for harmful ingredients with a score of two out of five on the project’s toxicity report card.
USA Today reported that these harmful chemicals can affect the children’s fine motor skill and cognitive development.
“The baby industry needs to do a better job in protecting America’s most vulnerable population,” says Clean Label Project ‘s executive director, Jaclyn Bowen to USA today.
Baby Formula Tests Positive for Arsenic and more…
Almost 80% of the formula samples tested positive for Arsenic, which indicated that this chemical was the most prevalent among all other harmful ingredients. The highest levels of arsenic were observed in rice-based baby foods like snack puffs. According to the World Health Organization, consumption of arsenic may lead to developmental defects, heart disease, neurotoxicity, cancer, and diabetes.
“It is important for consumers to understand that some contaminants, such as heavy metals like lead or arsenic, are in the environment and cannot simply be removed from food,” says FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell to USA Today.
It’s true, rice can absorb arsenic from the soil. However, in 2016, FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion of arsenic in infant foods. Although, the limit isn’t being enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, some products have exceeded the proposed limit, testing positive for about 600 parts of arsenic per billion.
On the other hand, any amount of lead can be harmful. It can cause low level IQ’s, and hearing problems. In another study from the Environmental Defense Fund, heavy metals were detected in 20% of baby foods, in 89% of grape juices for babies, in 55% of apple juices, and in 86% of sweet potatoes.
Regarding the issue, Nestle, Gerber’s parent company, told the Daily News that the report may have “caused unnecessary alarm about the safety of baby foods and infant formula.”
They added that the study doesn’t “compromise on the quality of our formulas and foods for babies and toddlers.” Nestle stated that, “all Gerber foods meet or exceed U.S. government standards for quality and safety.”
You can find all the products tested by the Clean Label Product, and each of the product’s star-rating on the organization’s website.
Have a look at this video that discusses the subject: