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Should You Be Worried About Metals In Baby Food?

by | October 31, 2018

New information from Consumer reports has many parents in a frenzy checking baby food and snacks in their cupboards for metals in baby food.


Parents are understandably concerned after learning cadmium, lead, and arsenic is present in some jars and pouches of popular baby food brands.

Consumer Reports tested a variety of the most popular brands and found every product has measurable levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, or lead, and two-thirds had concerning levels. According to Dickinson, what makes those test results worrisome is that 68% correspond to elevated levels of potential risk for cancer development, neurological problems or respiratory problems.

Read their full report to be fully informed.

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According to Consumer Reports, “Exposure to even small amounts of these heavy metals at an early age may increase the risk of several health problems, especially lower IQ and behavior problems, and have been linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Unfortunately, these effects are long-lasting and irreversible, as the contaminants have been linked to “bladder, lung, and skin cancer; cognitive and reproductive problems; and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions” when consumed over a long period of time, says Consumer Reports.

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James H Dickerson the Chief Scientific Officer for Consumer Reports, says the study about metals in baby food was meant to inform citizens, not scare us.
“Don’t panic. The issue is a chronic exposure issue, not an acute exposure issue,” he explains. “Chronic exposure means long-term exposure over months and years of repeated exposure. Acute exposure means a single time, or five times or 10 times of exposure, consuming these foods would lead to a risk. That’s not the case at all.”

After the analysis, the Consumer Reports scientists conclude that:

  • 15 of the foods would pose ”potential health risks” if a child ate one serving or less every day.
  • Snacks and products with rice or sweet potatoes were more likely than other foods to have high levels of the heavy metals. White rice had lower levels than brown.
  • Organic foods were as likely as nonorganic to have high levels of heavy metals.

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Here are the 15 foods that Consumer Reports  recommends limiting to less than a serving a day:

  • Earth’s Best Organic Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Earth’s Best Turkey, Red Beans and Brown Rice
  • Gerber Chicken &Rice
  • Gerber Turkey & Rice
  • Sprout Organic Baby Food Garden Vegetables Brown Rice with Turkey
  • Gerber Lil’ Meals White Turkey Stew with Rice & Vegetables
  • Gerber Carrot, Pear & Blackberry
  • Gerber Carrots Peas & Corn with Lil’ Bits
  • Plum Organics Just Sweet Potato Organic Baby Food
  • Beech-Nut Classics Sweet Potatoes
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, 1st Stage
  • Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars, Strawberry
  • Happy Bab Organics Superfood Puffs, Apple & Broccoli
  • Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Purple Carrot & Blueberry

The message, Dickerson says, is not to be alarmed with the metals in baby food, but to think “balance, balance, balance” when it comes to a child’s diet. “If you happen to be giving them a lot of rice-based products, mix in oats or wheat. The idea is balance, not overemphasizing any one particular grain or food.”

“Back off on snack foods,” as most of those products contain rice, he says.

Are you still worried about metals in baby food? Let us know in the comments below.

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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