How Safe Is Store-Bought Baby Food? Here's What You Need to Know

Apr 17, 2021 05:02 AM EDT | By Zyanya James (

Baby Food
Store-bought baby food may be loaded with toxic heavy metals.
(Photo : Pixabay)

A congressional report is forcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a closer look at heavy metals found in baby food.

According to Food Engineering, the Feb. 4 released report, entitled "Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury," alarmingly showed how high the levels of these metals are in some baby food brands. This has led many experts and parents to question how safe is the baby food?

Eat This, Not That! has spotted the names of the following baby brands on the report: Beech-Nut, Campbell's Plum Organics, Earth's Best Organic, Gerber, HappyBABY, Sprout Organic Foods, and Walmart's Parent's Choice. 

Eat This, Not That! reported that these brands' products have shown "significantly higher levels of toxins" than others. After the analysis of these baby food brands, it's been found that they contain "91 times the arsenic level, 177 times the lead level, 69 times the cadmium level, and 5 times the mercury level."

The congressional report stated that high levels of toxic metals could negatively impact babies' and young children's neurological development and brain function.

Other side effects can include permanent decreases in IQ and the risk of antisocial behavior in children. Future criminal behavior and economic unproductivity may also be a problem.

READ NEXT: Earth Day 2021: 7 Tips to Reduce Food Waste At Home

After congressional pressure, The Washington Post reported that the FDA had outlined a multi-year plan to address this alarming health issue. They launched the "Closer to Zero" to reduce toxic elements in foods. 

According to this plan, the FDA states that "We have prioritized babies and young children because their smaller body sizes and metabolism make them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of these contaminants."

However, according to their proposed timeline, it will take a few years to finalize their action levels. Phase 1 of the FDA's proposed timeline is dated April 2021 to April 2022. Phase 2 will be from April 2022 to April 2024, and Phase 3 will be April 2024 and beyond.

Baby Food Recipes

There's a long wait ahead to ensure that baby food will be toxic-free. One of the steps that parents can take is to make their own baby food and to use the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "Clean Fifteen" list of fruits and veggies as a guide. Here are some baby food recipes to try from Yummy Baby Food.

Avocado Puree

Avocados are on EWG's Clean Fifteen list. Blend together ripe avocados with breastmilk, formula, or water. Add the liquid to get your desired thickness. Serve immediately and save the rest for later.

To store your avocado puree, add some lemon juice to avoid browning and spoon the puree onto an ice tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe container or scoop portions into freezer bags. To defrost safely, leave a bag in the fridge overnight.

Kiwi Puree

Kiwi is another fruit on the EWG Clean Fifteen list. Ripe kiwis should be soft to the touch but not squishy. Remove and discard the brown skin. Add to a blender with some liquid. This time, full-fat coconut milk is also an option. Make a small batch for serving or more for storage. Store and defrost like the avocado puree, but without the lemon juice.

READ MORE: According to the Environmental Working Group, These Are The Most Pesticide-Laden Produce of 2021

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