Baby Food Testing for Heavy Metals May Be Required in California

If passed, California would be the first state in the nation to require monthly testing of baby food for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

California lawmakers have passed new legislation, which would require extensive testing for heavy metals in baby food, amid growing concerns about the long-term impact on the health of children.

The bill, AB 899, passed unanimously through the state senate last week, and it is expected Governor Gavin Newsom will sign the bill into law. If he does, California would require baby food manufacturers who sell their products in the state to test monthly for the presence of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

The baby food testing requirement would apply to any products imported into the state, and would likely have far-reaching effects on the baby food industry beyond California, since it is the most populous state in the country.

If passed, the baby food safety law would go into effect in January 2024, requiring not only monthly testing of all baby food products sold in the state. By 2025, manufacturers would also be required to place a QR code on baby food products, which consumers could scan to see the latest test results online.  California would be the first state in the U.S. to impose these types of requirements.

Baby Food Heavy Metal Concerns

In 2021, a U.S. Congressional report ignited a firestorm of concerns over dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury found in a number of different popular baby foods, and nearly two years later reports suggest that toxic metals in baby food remain a pervasive problem, with high levels still found in popular brands sold by Gerber, Plum Organics, Sprout, Walmart and others.

A recent Consumer Reports study found that levels of the toxic heavy metals in some baby food products have decreased in recent years, but others have more heavy metals now than they did when researchers first tested the products.

Manufacturers of products found to contain high levels of these heavy metals already face hundreds of toxic baby food lawsuits, involving allegations that children developed autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and other side effects.

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Baby Food Lawsuits

Toxic baby food sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut and other manufacturers contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, which may be the cause of autism and severe ADHD for children.

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September 2023 Baby Food Heavy Metals Lawsuits Update

Since early 2021, a series of baby food autism lawsuits and baby food ADHD lawsuits have been filed by parents claiming manufacturers marketed baby foods containing toxic substances as safe for infants and children without disclosing known metal contamination risks.

While plaintiffs previously sought to consolidate the growing number of baby food lawsuits being filed in various U.S. District Courts in to single multi-district litigation, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied the request, resulting in cases against various different manufacturers moving forward independently in a number of different jurisdictions nationwide.

Product liability lawyers are continuing to investigate claims for children who are currently under the age of 15, and developed any of the following injuries after exposure to heavy metals in baby food for at least one year:

  • Autism diagnosed between ages of 2 and 14
  • Severe ADHD diagnosed between ages of 8 and 14


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