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US Government Report Finds High Levels of Heavy Metals in Some Baby Foods

This was the headline in many mainstream media sources on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Why? The US House of Representative’s Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on economic and consumer policy released a report finding significant levels of heavy metals in some US baby foods. While this is a known issue to the industry, to date, companies have created their own strategies to provide safe baby food for US families. In August 2020, the FDA established an action level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals of 100 ppb (the same as current EU standard). The house subcommittee is asking the FDA to go further and establish standards.

In a 59-page report, the subcommittee has issued the following recommendations:

  • Mandatory testing: baby food manufacturers should be required by FDA to test their finished products for toxic heavy metals, not just their ingredients;
  • Labeling: Manufacturers should be required by FDA to report levels of toxic heavy metals on food labels;
  • Voluntary phase-out of toxic ingredients: Manufacturers should voluntarily find substitutes for ingredients that are high in toxic heavy metals, or phase out products that have high amounts of ingredients that frequently test high in toxic heavy metals, such as rice;
  • FDA Standards: FDA should set maximum levels of toxic heavy metals permitted in baby foods. One level for each metal should apply across all baby foods. And the level should be set to protect babies against neurological effects of toxic heavy metals; and
  • Parental Vigilance: Parents should avoid baby foods that contain ingredients testing high in heavy metals, such as rice products. Instituting recommendations one through four will give parents the information they need to make informed decisions to protect their babies.

Global Organics takes these concerns very seriously. We only work with producers who share our quality and environmental standards. Our organic certified ingredients comply with the strictest food safety standards, and surpass industry standards for purity and cleanliness. Although the US has not enacted new standards around safe heavy metal levels in baby foods, Global Organics has already begun sourcing fruits and rice flours  that meet EU’s baby food safety standards.

Our quality team works with our suppliers to pre-test and qualify to our customers’ required standard levels. Lots are tested either at the producer or independent labs, to ensure they meet or exceed safety requirements. We’d be happy to meet with your team to discuss your needs for specific applications.

If you’d like more information about our baby food standard ingredients, please contact your Global Organics Account Manager or email