Levels of lead in baby food are under scrutiny as an environmental group has taken major food manufacturers to court in San Francisco.
Yes, there appears to be lead in baby food, which, we're guessing, is new information to many mothers and frankly, quite disturbing. The trial has just begun and recently, a food safety scientist representing Gerber, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp and Del Monte Foods says that the products with lead in them fall well below the warning limits that the state of California requires.
The court battle is whether or not baby food and lead levels in food should have warning labels.
The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) filed the lawsuit in an attempt to either require warning labels for lead in baby food, or strong-arm manufacturers to ensure the lead is completely taken out of the products. The alarming reality, ELF says, is that a child could take in what is called the "legal limit" of lead in one day of eating the products.
If that happened, the child would have to refrain from eating the lead-contaminated baby food for the rest of the month based on the danger of lead poisoning in children. The food safety scientist's claim that the lead levels are low is basing her opinion by averaging the lead levels over the entire products, not looking individually at one particular product, according to ELF.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested the products with lead and determined that the lead levels are safe, according to attorneys for the food companies. Yet, both the Plaintiffs and Defendants do agree that some baby food has lead.
Why is there Lead in Baby Food?
Lead naturally exists in the ground where food is grown. Additionally, if the food is not organic, pesticides are likely used and contain lead. Consequently, there will be lead in baby food, though organic will have less.
A judge will decide if the companies should label products with lead after hearing a dozen experts in toxicology and lead.
Lead and Children
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, lead exposure causes:
- Hyperactivity and inattention
- Learning and reading problems
- Growth Delay
- Hearing loss
What are My Baby Food Options?
- Consider Certified Organic. Yes, it's more expensive, but by comparison shopping and even buying in bulk, the pocketbook isn't hit so hard.
- Purchase certified organic food and puree it yourself. Farmer's markets exist where you can quarry them about how the food is grown.
- Grow your own organic garden. There are ways to grow food safely and honestly, having tended one myself, it is quite rewarding!
For a list of safe foods and those to avoid, visit Envirolaw.
What are your thoughts about lead in baby food?