Recently, The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released its findings from a 2019 study regarding high levels of heavy metals in baby foods. Although some of the baby food companies voluntarily submitted their products for internal testing, several companies refused to participate. The refusal is concerning because it may indicate that there are more unsafe baby food products in Florida and throughout the United States than are known to consumers. Companies that fail to abide by health and safety standards may be liable under Florida product liability laws.
The report addressed the levels of heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury present in baby food jars, pouches, teethers, puffs, and similar items. The presence of heavy metals in baby food is not a new issue, and previous studies have published reports on the analysis of metals, such as arsenic, in many rice-based products and juices. The initial 2019 findings focused on all foods babies eat, however, the report focuses on processed baby food items. Many heavy metals are naturally occurring as plants absorb these materials as they propagate and grow. However, there are many ways that heavy metals can enter food products. In some situations, these unsafe metals can enter through manufacturing equipment that the companies use. Further, some of the binding ingredients in processed baby foods contain higher levels of heavy metals.
Many companies argue that these naturally occurring heavy metals are not easily removable. However, other companies have drastically changed their production methods to reduce significant amounts of heavy metals from their products. Despite these contentions, safety experts have provided several recommendations on how to diminish the presence of these unsafe materials in baby foods. They suggest researching new sources of food that contains less naturally occurring heavy metals and discontinue using products that do not have a low-risk alternative. Further, they advocated for an overhaul of outdated and potentially unsafe manufacturing equipment. Finally, they encouraged companies to consider researching chemical methods to reduce the level of mercury in baby food products.