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Toxic Baby Foods – Problems Found

October 5, 2021 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.


Until the middle of the 19th-century infant food was generally made at home and consisted of finely ground grains (oats, rice, barley) mixed with water or milk.  Today packaged foods made for babies and toddlers are manufactured by large corporations and used by more than 90 percent of parents with children 3 and under.


Healthy Babies & Bright Futures (HBBF) an alliance of scientists, nonprofits, and donors create and support initiatives to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals in the first thousand days of development.  HBBF conducted a study in 2019 that found 95% of tested baby foods contained toxic chemicals.  From there the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation into 61 brands.  All but 9 of the 168 tested baby foods contained at least 1 of these 4 toxic metals, and 87% of foods tested contained more than one toxic heavy metal.  The food has not been recalled from the market.

Testing Results:

FDA limits for Adults Baby Food Brand and Testing Results
  Low End High End
Metal/Product Parts per Billion Metal/ Product Parts per Billion Metal/ Brand Parts per Billion
Arsenic (As) Arsenic (As) Arsenic (As)
bottled water 10 ppb Gerber (Rice Flour) 90 ppb Beech-Nut 913.4 ppb
Lead (Pb) Lead (Pb) Lead (Pb)
bottled water 5ppb Gerber 48 ppb Earths Best 886.9 ppb
Cadmium (Cd) Cadmium (Cd) Cadmium (Cd)
bottled water 5 ppb Gerber (75% carrots) 5ppb – 87 ppb Beech-Nut 344.55 ppb
Mercury (Hg) Mercury (Hg) Mercury (Hg)
bottled water 2 ppb Gerber, Earths Best, Beech-Nut Negative HappyBaby 10 ppb



The metals lead (Pb), inorganic arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), and cadmium (Cd) are human carcinogens.  The presence of these metals and other foreign matter in your body is a risk factor for diseases but it’s also dangerous on its own as heavy metal poisoning.  Toxicity can result from chronic exposure and infants and toddlers are more susceptible to the effects because they absorb significantly more compared to adults.  Exposure to small amounts at an early age can impact the growth of a baby’s brain, lower IQ, and increase the chance of cancer.  These toxins accumulate in the kidneys and other organs and can remain in the body for years after exposure.  It is also linked to the Autism spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), Kanner’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS).   The CDC reports approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2020.



The FDA sets regulations for adult products and infant formulas but has not set any standards for baby foods.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits to gardening soils and legal limits on the levels of certain contaminants in drinking water.  In 2017 the FDA detected toxic metals in testing and failed to set enforceable limits or issue any guidance on safe amounts.  The companies selling these dangerous foods have set their own limits and still manage to detect excessive amounts of metals.



Heavy metals can be found in some foods because of contaminated water and soils.  Herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup) have contributed to the contamination of a majority of our country’s agricultural farms.  Old orchards may have used insecticides containing arsenic in the past.  Fields that had past applications of wastewater or municipal sludge, industrial areas where chemicals may have been dumped on the ground, or in areas downwind from industrial sites.  Once metals are introduced and contaminate the environment, they will remain. Metals do not degrade. In general, it is very difficult to eliminate metals from the environment.

The products found with high levels of heavy metals were Nurture (HappyBABY), Hain (Earth’s Best Organic), Beech-Nut, Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Campbells (Plum Organics), Sprout Foods, Inc.

No child should be exposed to toxic substances in their food.  If you are concerned that the baby food, you purchased may have been contaminated with heavy metals you may need to speak with an attorney.