What practical steps should manufacturers take to reduce heavy metals in baby food?

No baby food manufacturer intentionally adds heavy metals to their products: arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are naturally occurring. Crops absorb heavy metals from soil and water, which is how they end up in baby food. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the company to ensure that ingredients and finished products have a safe limit of heavy metals.

Tackling the problem of heavy metals is not as daunting as it sounds.

Company employees can significantly reduce the risk of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury being present in their baby food at unsafe levels by ensuring crops are grown with natural soil additives, sourcing grains, fruits and vegetables from low-arsenic fields, ensuring that farmers growing the original crops change irrigation practices, preparing baby food in the facility with excess water to get rid of extra arsenic and mix high-arsenic cereals, such as rice, with low-arsenic cereals in multigrain products.

Testing baby food for heavy metals must become an essential practice

Testing baby food for heavy metals today is very simple and cost effective. This should become standard practice in the establishment, which will ensure that companies do not allow products with high concentrations of heavy metals on the shelves.

Although a baby food sample tested for arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury costs between $50 and $100, manufacturers will undoubtedly get a good deal from a reputable lab that will benefit consumers. of them.

In addition, every baby food establishment that must comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) must also implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and put in place preventive checks.

Recognized internationally, HACCP ensures consumer safety by avoiding toxic agents in food. Baby food manufacturers should focus on chemical testing, as they deal with chemical and physical hazards, including heavy metals.

Alternatively, they can test their products using the Environmental Defense Fund guidelines. This nonprofit advocacy group advises baby food manufacturers to explicitly ban arsenic, cadmium and lead in any packaging or food handling equipment.

Baby food companies should test ingredients, products themselves, and packaging for arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

Finally, baby food companies should review potential sources of heavy metals where measurable concentrations have been found and periodically test baby foods and their key ingredients using the FDA-approved method.

It is also extremely important to test packaging that touches food anywhere along the supply chain for arsenic, cadmium and lead through a CPSC accredited laboratory certified by a third party that rates baby food for heavy metals is also extremely important if companies want to have a concentration of toxic substances. metals in their products as close to zero as possible.

If the concentration of heavy metals exceeds the safe limit in baby food, the best thing to do is to issue a recall on the adulterated lots as soon as possible.

Jonathan Sharpis the chief financial officer of Environmental Litigation Group, PC​.​, a law firm, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, that specializes in toxic exposure. Jonathan Sharp oversees financial analysis, fundraising and distribution, case valuation, firm asset management and client relations.

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