As parents, we want only the best and healthiest things for our children – especially when they are babies. For this reason, parents are willing to pay extra for food packages advertised as “organic” or “all natural.” The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t really attach metrics to such labels, and most of us realize that it could be just a marketing ploy. Still, we assume that such labels at least carry the possibility of a higher quality food, and at worst, we trust that the products on store shelves are at least safe.
Unfortunately, the safety of certain foods cannot be assumed. According to an article in the New York Times, a recent congressional report has revealed that baby food sold by some of the nation’s largest brands is contaminated with surprisingly high levels of arsenic, lead and cadmium – all heavy metals that can cause serious health problems like brain damage. They are particularly harmful in young children, whose brains and bodies are still developing.
There is no safe level of exposure to these contaminants, but setting limits at least forces companies to make an effort to remove them. Unfortunately, the FDA has not set any limits on heavy metals in baby food, save for the amount of arsenic found in rice cereal. Bottled water, juice and candy actually receive more scrutiny than baby food in this regard.
In some cases, these contaminants are found naturally within grains and vegetables, but the concentrations are generally small. Ironically, most of contaminants are introduced by the mineral and vitamin mixes manufacturers use to fortify the food. Ingredients meant to make the products healthier are actually making them more toxic.
Sadly, most parents will not be able to tell if their children are suffering harm from contaminated baby food because the effects may not be seen for years. By then, it can be difficult to trace the damage back to its source. Hopefully, the news contained within this congressional report will prompt parents to demand better quality from food manufacturers and better accountability from the FDA. oHoH
If your child suffered harm and you suspect that it was due to an unsafe or poisonous consumer product, please discuss your concerns with an experienced product liability attorney today.