High levels of toxins found in more baby food manufacturers, government report says


Eight months after a congressional report make clear the problem of toxins in baby food, a brand new report finds more instances of main producers promoting baby food with excessive levels of poisonous heavy metals. 

The report, out Wednesday from the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, describes harmful levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and different toxins, which will be notably harmful to creating infants and toddlers.

Investigators mentioned two of Gerber’s Infant Rice Cereal merchandise contained inorganic arsenic levels over the Food and Drug Administration’s restrict. They mentioned Gerber “failed to recall” these merchandise.    

Most of Plum Organics’ merchandise contained heavy metals too, together with widespread Superpuff snacks. And they mentioned Walmart raised the quantity of arsenic it allowed in its merchandise, going from an inner company commonplace of 23 components per billion to the utmost allowed by FDA of 100 components per billion.

“No level of toxic heavy metals and exposure to them is safe for a baby,” mentioned Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, the chairman of the financial and client coverage subcommittee. 

CBS News reached out to the businesses named. Gerber didn’t answer whether or not it didn’t recall merchandise, however mentioned it “follows a consistent and rigorous testing plan which includes regular testing of finished products” and will increase testing “for products that have a history of naturally occurring level(s) of heavy metals.”

Walmart mentioned it requires merchandise to fulfill FDA pointers, its specs have all the time been aligned “with or below … FDA requirements,” and it is “committed to providing high quality … baby food products that are safe and nutritious.” 

But Krishnamoorthi desires stronger federal requirements. He mentioned he would not consider the problem will be left to corporations to repair.

“They haven’t so far shown either the capacity or the willingness to regulate themselves. You need a federal regulator in the form of FDA to be regulating them closely,” he mentioned.  

But one company will not be ready for the government to step in.

Jay Highman, the founder and CEO of Nature’s One, which makes natural baby system, screens the whole lot at his manufacturing facility exterior Columbus, Ohio.

“Everything’s in quarantine initially when it comes here,” he advised CBS News client investigative correspondent Anna Werner. “For it to come here, it’s already gone through an elaborate qualification process.”  

To be certain that his merchandise are pure, elements are examined for heavy metallic toxins earlier than they even attain the constructing. 

“It’s constant surveillance and testing and working with our suppliers,” Highman mentioned.

The completed merchandise are additionally periodically examined, so Highman can work to maintain toxins like arsenic and lead out of his merchandise.

But about 10 years in the past, it was a special story.

“We were the poster child for the first toxins identified in certain ingredients,” he mentioned.   

In 2012, Nature’s One made headlines after a college examine found arsenic in its natural baby system.    

“This 2012 event was so shocking,” Highman mentioned. “Because we were in this beautiful place in our mind that we’re doing everything possible that we could.”  

His company was testing for toxins, however he says the industrial labs he used could not check right down to the decrease levels in that examine. It turned out, the arsenic was in an ingredient known as brown rice syrup.

Customers had been livid and business “went to zero.”

“It was a difficult time. It really was,” Highman mentioned. “It’s emotional.” 

That, he says, was the turning level. Since then, he is devoted himself to preserving toxins out.

“Without a doubt, it hardened our resolve to always be ahead of it. We want to know what’s in our product,” he mentioned. 

Highman mentioned he did not want to attend for government rules to take motion. 

“It’s up to me to have a conscience for my consumer,” he mentioned. “It’s cost us more to go through this process, but is there really any price you wouldn’t pay to remove a toxin that’s harmful to a child in its later years or development years? I say no.”   

The subcommittee report additionally mentioned some samples of Beech-Nut merchandise had more inorganic arsenic than the FDA’s restrict and a subsequent recall in June was too slender. Beech-Nut advised CBS News that’s incorrect and mentioned it “proactively withdrew all those rice cereal products from supermarket shelves” and determined to cease promoting toddler rice merchandise as a result of it “is concerned about being able to consistently obtain rice flour well-below the FDA guidance level.”

The FDA’s “closer to zero” program would set allowable federal levels for some heavy metals, however closing steerage is not scheduled till 2024. Krishnamoorthi desires to have some of these timelines moved up, however the company mentioned “it’s crucial that measures to limit toxic elements in foods do not have unintended consequences,” equivalent to making it more troublesome for households to get meals with vital dietary advantages.

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