Heavy Metals in Baby Food: What to Know

The internet is coming in hot with the latest reports on heavy metals and toxicity in baby food. But before breathing into a paper bag, let’s look at the findings together.

  • On February 4, 2021, a new report was released by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives on heavy metal in baby foods. This report references data from four companies and found that “commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.”
  • The biggest offender in these reports are products that use rice (rice cereal, puffs, etc) as there is currently no regulation on the arsenic content in these products.
  • The FDA has cautioned that rice cereal does not need to be a baby’s first solid food and that it shouldn’t be relied on heavily.
  • The report also says that naturally-occurring heavy metals may be increased by the addition of other ingredients that are tainted with high levels of metals.

So what can YOU do when you’re browsing the aisles looking for something to feed your tiny human?

Keep it Real

When you can, buy fresh or frozen. This lowers your risk of additives and preservatives significantly. As a rule of thumb remember, food is supposed to go bad. If it can sit on a shelf for two years, there are added ingredients, even if it says organic.

Skip the Rice

Babies don’t need to start with rice cereal. These filler foods can actually do more harm than good. Not only is this the major culprit behind high concentrations of heavy metals, but rice cereal can cause constipation and make life generally uncomfortable for tiny humans. Better to start with real food like grains and veggies.

The Best Process is No Process

Shelf-stable foods are processed. They use high heat to boil down ingredients into concentrates which eliminates important nutrients and leaves behind a higher concentration of heavy metal. This process also yields a higher sugar content and a sweeter taste.

Variety Variety Variety

Some produce, like carrots and sweet potatoes, have traces of metals due to soil. This is why it’s important to mix up your tiny human’s diet. Make sure they’re getting other ingredients and not just a steady diet of sweet potato mash.

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