FDA proposes lower levels of lead in baby food

‘FDA estimates that these action levels could result in as much as a 24-27% reduction in exposure to lead from these foods’

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced draft guidance earlier this week on acceptable levels of lead in baby and toddler foods.

“For more than 30 years, the FDA has been working to reduce exposure to lead, and other environmental contaminants, from foods,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., said in a statement. “For babies and young children who eat the foods covered in today’s draft guidance, the FDA estimates that these action levels could result in as much as a 24-27% reduction in exposure to lead from these foods.”

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Included in the draft guidance were foods packaged in jars, pouches, tubs and boxes for kids ages 2 and younger.

The new recommended levels are:

  • 10 parts per billion (ppb) for fruits, vegetables (excluding single-ingredient root vegetables), mixtures (including grain and meat-based mixtures), yogurts. custards/puddings and single-ingredient meats
  • 20 ppb for root vegetables (single ingredient)
  • 20 ppb for dry cereals
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“The action levels in today’s draft guidance are not intended to direct consumers in making food choices. To support child growth and development, we recommend parents and caregivers feed children a varied and nutrient-dense diet across and within the main food groups of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and protein foods,” Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in the statement. “This approach helps your children get important nutrients and may reduce potential harmful effects from exposure to contaminants from foods that take up contaminants from the environment.”

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