FDA To Set Mercury, Lead, and Arsenic Content Limits in Baby Food

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After a report about finding arsenic, lead, and mercury in many baby food manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration plans to propose limiting these toxic heavy metals. 

Although the FDA has made and allowed levels of inorganic arsenic in bottled water, it does not set metals in toddler and baby food. Other than arsenic in rice cereal that started last year. 

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Heavy metals in baby food

They admit that people want zero toxic elements in baby food eaten by babies and young children. But in truth, such elements as arsenic, lead, and mercury occur in our air, water, and soil; there are limits to how these levels can be. 

They added that the FDA's goal is to lessen the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in baby food to the greatest extent as much as possible. 

Heavy metals like mentioned above find their way into fruits and vegetables from soil or water tainted by sources like pesticides and fertilizers. Being exposed to these heavy metals can be harmful to adults and children. It can be more dangerous to babies and toddlers because of their smaller size and growing brains. Experts even say that being exposed to these over time can result in autism in children. 

FDA to review guidelines

The FDA plans to review such matters and set limits to know the allowed arsenic, lead, and mercury levels, among other heavy and toxic metals. They are also planning to observe compliance by baby food makers. 

The FDA said this as they outline their multilayer strategy called "Closer to Zero." Aside from this, regulators also plan to draft a standard for max levels of lead in baby food by April 2022 and arsenic by April 2024. 

With a final ruling on information coming by April 2024, they were followed by one on arsenic. The FDA said that it would also collect and review data on cadmium and mercury. 

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The toxin guidance

The toxin levels would be issued as guidance, but sticking to them would be optional for baby food makers. 

Although FDA gained muted praises from many advocacy groups, such as the Environmental Working Group, on the other hand, the groups called them for more decisive and speedier action. 

Scott Faber, the senior vice president of EWG, agreed with the FDA, finally making plans to limit metals in baby food. He added that setting draft levels will send a great signal to the food makers to do better. 

On the flip side, Faber called them out because making plans to do this is different from setting mandatory standards that baby food makers must adhere to and commit. 

Besides, Faber said that parents should not have to wait for this to happen. He exclaimed that Congress should set levels in the law that baby food makers and companies must meet right away. 

FDA and private companies

Gerber, the country's biggest baby food company, said in a statement that this welcomed the chance to work with the FDA to make baby food even safe for infants and young children. 

The FDA's move follows the recent Baby Food Safety Act of 2021. The said measure would require the FDA to set limits for baby food for these toxic and heavy metals. 

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