Report: New York AG Urges US FDA to Set Uniform Baby Food Safety Standards

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On Tuesday, Attorney General Letitia James of New York urged the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will set minimum safety standards for all baby foods about toxic metals.

James called the FDA to follow suggestions given last week by a U.S. House panel to set guidelines on all baby foods, not just rice cereal, and to mandate food producers to screen for harmful metals instead of finished product additives. 

She also said that she is exploring all legal options simultaneously. The FDA said it got the letter and will reply directly to AG James. Last week, the department said it had a firm intention to continue reducing public exposure to toxic foodborne elements and other pollutants. Dangerous amounts of radioactive heavy metals in some baby foods that could cause brain harm was identified in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform report.

The council reviewed baby food made by Nurture Inc, Hain Celestial Group Inc, Beech-Nut Nutrition, Gerber, a Nestle device, and others.

"The report stated that internal company standards "allow hazardously high levels of toxic heavy metals, and records showed that suppliers frequently market foods that surpass certain groups.

Last week, baby food producers said they were trying to reduce the levels of metals naturally found in food products.

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FDA Report on Safety Standards on Baby Food

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes toxic elements are present in the environment and enter the food supply through the soil, water, or air. FDA representatives said last week, "Because elements cannot completely remove them, our goal is to reduce exposure to toxic elements in foods to the greatest extent feasible." 

The FDA has announced that inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are harmful, particularly for infants and children.

In August, the FDA finalized guidelines on infant rice cereals, setting an action level of 100 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic.

All this was triggered when a parent who focused on pre-packaged baby food got a fresh snapshot of what the cans, pouches, or grain items were inside. Multiple potential class-action lawsuits have been brought on behalf of persons buying baby food.

According to a report last week by a House Investigative panel, "Commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury."

The study indicated that toxic heavy metals could impair an infant's cognitive growth and long-term brain activity, with exposure decreasing IQ and raising the risk of potential criminal and antisocial behavior in infants.

"The subcommittee inquiry "revealed that suppliers intentionally market contaminated baby food to unsuspecting parents, amid internal company test findings revealing elevated levels of toxic heavy metal and no warning labels whatsoever," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee.

In fact, rice may not be an effective ingredient for baby foods as it has been extensively screened for inorganic arsenic.

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Congressional investigators requested seven U.S. baby food suppliers to provide internal records and test reports. Four of the firms who replied are Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber.

The study noted that three others, Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods, have not been cooperating, making authorities "very concerned" about what they may be obscuring.

The report showed that internal corporate requirements approve dangerously high levels of hazardous heavy metals, and suppliers frequently market foods that surpass those levels.

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