A Congressional investigation found high levels of toxic metals in several of the major brands of baby food and called on federal regulators to set stricter standards for food manufacturers. Gerber, Beech-Nut, Walmart Inc.’s WMT, + 0.93% of the store brand and several organic baby food lines contained “dangerously high levels” of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, according to a report from the Subcommittee on Economy of the House of Representatives. and Consumer Policy issued Thursday. Consumer advocacy groups have reached similar conclusions in recent years.
These heavy metals are found naturally in soil and water. Baby food manufacturers say their products contain these metals at safe levels and are already working to reduce their presence by looking for new suppliers and growing methods. The House committee says the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food safety, should require maximum levels of these metals for baby food. Exposure to heavy metals in food can be detrimental to brain development in children, according to the FDA, but the extent of the potential harm from the levels found in baby food is unclear. The agency has established voluntary guidance on the amount of arsenic or lead that some foods may contain. An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com. WSJ.com Popular Stories: