Most Home-Made and Prepackaged Baby Foods Contain Toxic Metals: Report

High levels of toxic metals were abundant in prepackaged baby food rice products, and in baby food made at home using store-bought produce.

Amid a growing number of toxic baby food lawsuits being filed against several major manufacturers of products found to contain high levels of harmful metals and chemicals, a new report suggests that homemade baby foods made with store-bought produce may be just as toxic.

Concerns about toxic metals in baby food first emerged in April 2021, when a U.S. Congressional report highlighted internal documents and testing results for products sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut and several other popular brand names that contained high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which may pose serious health risks for developing children.

That report warned the toxic baby foods contained more than 91 times the maximum level of arsenic allowed in bottled water; 177 times the allowable levels of lead, 69 times the limits on cadmium, and five times the levels of allowable mercury.

As a result of the findings, a growing number of families are now pursuing lawsuits against the makers of Gerber, Nurture, Beech-Nut and other products, claiming that children were left with autism, severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder caused by exposure to the toxic metals.

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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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According to a report released this week by the non-profit organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures this month, 94% of manufactured baby foods, family foods and raw ingredients tested were contaminated with one or more of four toxic heavy metals, regardless of whether they were home made or store bought.

Researchers tested 288 foods, including popular brand name toddler and infant food, and also analyzed data from 7,000 additional food tests reported in published studies and by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Lead was identified in 90% of manufactured baby foods while 80% of store-bought family food and purees contained the harmful carcinogen. Arsenic was found in 68% of store-bought baby food and 72% of family foods, while Cadmium was identified in 65% of purchased baby food and 60% of family foods.

Based on the findings researchers compiled, a list was provided of foods to “Skip,” which contain the highest levels of contaminates, such as crisped rice cereal, brown rice with no extra cooking water used, rice-based puffs and rice cakes. Among the other top ten foods containing the highest levels of metals included teething biscuits and rusks (rice-based), white rice, raisins, teething crackers (non-rice), granola bar with raisins and oat-ring cereal.

“Rice cakes and crisped rice cereal are heavily contaminated with arsenic. They contain higher levels of arsenic than any other foods tested,” the report states. “Both stand out as foods to avoid for children and adults alike.”

Among the least contaminated foods used to make homemade baby and toddler foods were bananas, grits, baby food brand meats, butternut squash, lamb, apples, pork, eggs, oranges and watermelon.

Baby Food Toxic Metal Concerns

Heavy metal exposure to infants is a serious concern. Lead exposure at any level is extremely unsafe for children. Prior studies have linked heavy metal exposure to behavioral impairments, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, seizures, growth impairments, and even death.

Although the manufacturers continue to maintain that their baby food is safe and appropriately labeled, the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long maintained that exposing infants and children to toxic heavy metals can cause a permanent decrease in IQ, an increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior, and untreatable and frequently permanent brain damage.

Gerber, Beech-Nut Nutrition, Plum, Hain, Campbell, Walmart, Sprout and other companies are facing hundreds of toxic baby food lawsuits, with many claiming the manufacturers played on the parents’ trust that such an important product as baby food would be safe, concealing the levels of toxic heavy metals present for years.


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