Heavy metals in baby food? What Parents Should Know and Do – Harvard Health Blog


If there’s anything you can trust to be safe, it must be baby food, right?

Well … maybe not.

a Transfer From the US House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee, says commercial baby foods are contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.

Which baby food companies are participating?

The report was based on information from only four companies that make baby food: Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber. Arsenic, lead and cadmium are found in baby foods from all companies; Mercury was found in food from the only company that tested it (Nurture).

Notably, three other companies (Walmart, Sprout, and Campbell’s Soup) were asked to provide the same information about baby food products, and they didn’t.

And here’s part of the problem: This is just one report with limited information. It’s hard to know exactly what it means about commercial baby foods in general, but this is a report that we have to take seriously, as all of these 4 heavy metals can affect brain development. And when the brain is hurt as it is developing, the damage can be permanent.

Does organic baby food contain heavy metals?

It’s important to note that organic baby foods aren’t necessarily better, in a fraction of them because so much of them contain brown rice. Many rice plants naturally contain arsenic, and brown rice contains more than white rice. Over the past few years, we have come to understand the problem of arsenic in rice, and both American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), FDA It is recommended to limit the intake of rice to children.

What steps can parents take to make sure that baby food is safe and healthy?

The FDA is working to better monitor and regulate heavy metals in commercial baby foods. Meanwhile, it is almost impossible to know which is completely safe and what is not. Babies do not need solid foods until the age of 6 months. At that time, it is perfectly fine to give them soft table foods rather than baby food. You can also Do thy Baby food, using steamed or naturally soft foods and a blender. (Storage tip: You can pour homemade puree into an ice cube tray and freeze it, then eat the cubes you need each time.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics has it Suggestions for families To help reduce their children’s exposure to heavy metals in their food and drink:

  • Give your baby a variety of different foods (the more natural the colors, the better).
  • Grain type. As mentioned earlier, it is best to limit rice and rice products (check labels – rice is found in a lot of foods marketed to children, such as “pies”). Try barley, oats, and other grains. When cooking rice, it is best to cook it in extra water and filter it from the water, and use white basmati rice and sushi rice, which contain less arsenic.
  • Check your water. Old pipes can contain lead, which can leak into drinking water.
  • Avoid fruit juices. Not only does it increase the risk of tooth decay and obesity, many commercial juices also contain heavy metals.
  • Make healthy fish choices. Fish contain very healthy nutrients for the developing brain, but some fish can contain unhealthy amounts of mercury. Stay away from large, long-lived predatory fish such as swordfish, shark, or albacore tuna; It is best to choose fish such as cod, light tuna, salmon or pollock.

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