Another report released late last month by a subcommittee for the House Oversight Committee reveals dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals in even more baby food brands, which may increase the risk of irreversible damage to exposed babies’ developing brains. The report from the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy comes seven months after an initial finding in February 2021, which revealed high levels of the heavy metals arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium in baby food products from major manufacturers like Gerber, Plum Organics, Beech-Nut, and HappyBABY. This latest report reveals that many of these manufacturers have done little to rid their products of these heavy metals, which can be particularly harmful for developing babies and toddlers. If you bought Gerber, Beech-Nut, Parent’s Choice, Sprout Organics Food or another popular brand of baby food, and your child was later diagnosed with autism, attention deficit disorder, or another serious side effect, contact Consumer Safety Watch today to find out how we can help.
Serious concerns have been raised recently about the presence of toxic heavy metals in certain baby food products, including organic baby foods. In a February 2021 report titled “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury,” the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy exposed harmful levels of the heavy metals in baby foods made by Gerber, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Nurture, Inc., which sells baby food products under the name Happy Family Organics (HappyBABY), and Hain Celestial Group, Inc., which sells baby food products under the name Earth’s Best Organic. At the time the initial baby food report was released, there were several companies that had failed to produce the information and documents that were requested by the Subcommittee, including Walmart, Sprout Foods, and Campbell, the maker of Plum Organics. This failure to cooperate sparked concerns that the companies may have been attempting to conceal levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products that were even higher than those found in their competitors’ products.
Doubts about the safety of these other popular baby food brands prompted the publication of a second report, titled “New Disclosures Show Dangerous Levels of Toxic Heavy Metals in Even More Baby Foods,” which revealed a handful of other baby food products that contained harmful heavy metals. The Subcommittee released the follow-up report on September 29, 2021, singling out several baby food manufacturers that had begun cooperating after the initial baby food report was published, including Plum Organics, Walmart, and Sprout Organic Foods. “Plum provided its test results, which confirmed the Subcommittee’s concerns about the danger of some of its products,” the report states. “Walmart provided documents revealing a concerning lack of attention to toxic heavy metal levels in baby food and an abandonment of its previously more protective standards. The handful of documents that Sprout provided displayed a lax approach to testing for toxic heavy metals in its baby foods.”
Following publication of the initial baby food report, public health officials in the State of Alaska found toxic heavy metals in certain Beech-Nut baby food products, and the manufacturer announced a recall of certain products in June 2021. However, when the Subcommittee reviewed the test results for both Beech-Nut and Gerber products, which were never publicly disclosed, it found unsafe levels of toxic inorganic arsenic in Beech-Nut Infant rice cereal products and in Gerber infant rice cereal products that were not recalled. “Beech-Nut’s recall appears to have been incomplete,” the report states. “Gerber, despite its products’ having similar inorganic arsenic levels to those of the Beech-Nut products, failed to take any action.”
No level of arsenic or other heavy metal is safe for babies and toddlers, whose brains and organ systems are still developing. In one study of the health effects of heavy metals like mercury and lead on children, researchers linked heavy metal exposure to serious adverse effects like mental retardation, neurocognitive disorders, behavioral disorders, respiratory problems, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Exposure to heavy metals may also lead to autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “Today’s report reveals that companies not only under-report the high levels of toxic content in their baby food, but also knowingly keep toxic products on the market,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chair of the Subcommittee, following the release of the latest baby food report. “The facts speak for themselves, and the fact of the matter is that the baby food industry has consistently cut corners and put profit over the health of babies and children.”