FDA Proposes Limits for Lead in Baby Food

The Food and Drug Administration wants to limit the amount of lead in baby food. 

The FDA proposed maximum limits for the amount of lead in baby foods after years of studies revealed that many processed products contained levels known to pose a risk of neurological and developmental impairment.

Baby food like mashed fruits and vegetables and dry cereals has traces of lead from the food supply. Heavy metal is found throughout the environment and can be absorbed by plants. So traces are found in the vegetables, fruits, and grains that are used to make baby food.

Metals and toxins are found in just about all foods because fruits and vegetables absorb small amounts of lead and other metals from the soil, water, air, and anything. 

Lead exposure in kids has been linked to brain damage, learning disabilities, and behavioral difficulties. 

The FDA has been trying to limit the amount of toxic metals in baby food for years. One study found that 94 percent of store-bought baby food contained lead, while 32 percent contained mercury. 

Since the 1980s, lead exposure through food has decreased by 97 percent among young kids. Now, the FDA wants to get it “Closer to Zero.”

Baby foods covered by the new proposal include processed baby foods sold in boxes, jars, pouches, and tubs for babies and young children younger than 2 years old, the agency said.

The FDA has the guidelines still in ‘draft’ mode. Finalization comes after the 60-day period for public comment. After that, the agency will sign off on the changes and have the power to take action against companies that exceed the new lead limits. 

But critics believe the guidelines don’t go far enough.

The FDA’s proposed guidelines are putting a spotlight on the standards that exist, or lack thereof, on food.

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