We all try to find healthy food available in the market, although we know they’re not 100% genuine but still we manage with it by trying to buy organic products etc. But our babies are a precious part of our life, for them, we don’t compromise the quality of food. You all would’ve heard about the recent baby food recalls that happened, in which even a few famous brands came to light for adulterating the food with heavy metals. Babies are one of the most vulnerable groups to food adulteration. As we have already discussed child nutrition and its importance in our last blog, which is why it is very important to take good care of what you feed your children right from the beginning. Let’s now discuss the adulteration that caused the food recalls in the United States of America last month and its findings which I personally think all parents, especially mothers should understand and keep in mind before selecting a product next time for their baby.

‘Inorganic Arsenic’, ‘Lead’, ‘Cadmium’, and ‘Mercury’ were the metals that were found in most of the baby foods beyond safety limits. These elements were declared by the WHO (World Health Organization) as the most dangerous substances to babies and children because of their neurotoxic effect. Even a small amount of exposure to these elements may cause irreversible damage to brain development. Among the above-mentioned metals, Arsenic and Lead were the two elements that were found significantly in all products.

In a response from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration of US), the major reason for the presence of Arsenic and Lead was because these elements are present in our environment (by pollution) and may have entered the food supply through the soil, water or air, which is used to grow fruits and vegetables. These fruits & vegetables are the main ingredients for baby foods which are then processed into cereal packets etc. FDA also made clear that organic farming could only reduce the amount of these elements to enter into the food, although they cannot be completely removed.

The brands that were caught for using the higher level of arsenic in their baby products are:

  • Beech-Nut Nutrition.
  • Hain Celestial Group Inc., which sold their products under the brand ‘Earth’s Best Organic’.
  • Gerber.
  • Parent’s Choice, which is a private brand of the famous ‘Walmart Inc.’ that sells baby food.
  • Nurture Inc., which sells Happy Family Organics including baby food under the brand name ‘HappyBaby’.
  • Sprout Organic Foods.
  • Campbell Soup Co., which sells baby foods under the brand name Plum Organics.

Nurture Inc., sold baby food (HappyBaby) after the tests showed they contained as much as 180ppb (parts per billion) inorganic arsenic. Over 25% of their products tested before the sale contained about 100ppb inorganic arsenic. Nurture’s testing showed on average, the baby food they sold contained about 60pb of inorganic arsenic in them.

Beech-Nut — used ingredients after they tested as high as 913.4ppb arsenic. They used high arsenic-based additives that tested over 300ppb for creating characteristics for their food products such as “crumb softness”.

Gerber — used high arsenic ingredients, using 67 batches of rice flour that had tested over 90ppb inorganic arsenic.

Earth’s Best Organic — sold baby foods containing as much as 129ppb inorganic arsenic.

Three of the listed brands didn’t cooperate with the government. They are — Walmart, Plum Organics, & Sprout Organic Foods.

The report says that the manufacturers sold these products knowingly, taking advantage of the unsuspecting parents, without any warning labels.

What can we do?

  • The most mentioned product in baby foods that contained high levels of arsenic was rice-based products. So avoid rice-based baby products.
  • Switch to other grain-based products like oatmeal etc.
  • Try making your own baby foods, with fresh home processed ingredients.
  • Try buying organic foods.

Our message to you!

There is nothing much you can do about finding the best baby food product from the market as you can see what’s going on there in the market. What we need here is transparency that helps people to trust a product only by the genuine information they provide. We aim to help people to identify such products by sharing the genuine information that we have verified using our technologies. Join our community and together let’s promote healthy food.

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Creating transparency marketing systems in packaged food products to make people aware what they eat!

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