In September 2021 the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy filed a report stating that baby food maker companies Gerber and Beech-Nut have not recalled their products which were found to contain heavy metals.
These baby food products tested over the limit set by the Food and Drug Administration for inorganic arsenic. The FDA’s standard for levels of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal is 100 parts per billion.
According to the Committee’s report, Beech-Nut did not recall all of its infant rice cereal products, which tested over the limits. Additionally, Gerber did not recall any of its products that tested over the limit.
Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium are naturally found in soil, water, and air and are absorbed by plants. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that these heavy metals can affect brain development in infants and small children.
Based on this information, lawmakers are working further to address toxic heavy metals in baby foods.
In response to this report, the baby food manufacturers named above have pushed back against the allegations. These companies along with the FDA have blamed the natural occurrence of heavy metals in the environment as a reason for the high levels of heavy metals in their foods.
Gerber also came forward saying that their rice cereal sample was retested for inorganic arsenic levels by the FDA and there was no action advised based on the results.
Previous reports were done in February that stated most baby food manufacturers test individual ingredients for the levels of heavy metal, but do not test their finished products.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., spoke out regarding the recent reports saying, “Today’s report reveals that companies not only under-report the high levels of toxic content in their baby food but also knowingly keep toxic products on the market….the baby food industry has consistently cut corners and put profit over the health of babies and children.”
Despite the known effect that heavy metal consumption can have on children and infants, and the push the Subcommittee’s report has on recalling these products, the baby food companies do not believe they are doing wrong, and that is why they are refraining from recalling products.
In Massachusetts, the law requires product manufacturers like Gerber and Beech to sell products that do not pose an unreasonable risk to consumers.
Manufacturers are required to:
- Eliminate dangers, if possible
- Guard against those dangers if the danger cannot reasonably be eliminated
- Warn against these dangers when the danger cannot be avoided otherwise.
It is a great concern that baby food manufacturers maintain high levels of harmful ingredients in their products and keep those products on the market despite the Subcommittee’s reports to keep infants and children safe by encouraging recalls on the products.
At DILLER LAW, we represent families of people injured or killed by hazardous products. If someone in your family has suffered an injury because of a hazardous product, you should consult with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate whether or not the manufacturer, and/or seller of the product failed to keep you safe and free from foreseeable danger.
The lawyers at DILLER LAW do not charge a fee for the initial consultation because we generally work on a contingency fee, and we understand how difficult financially it is for those who have recently suffered an injury resulting from a hazardous product.
For a free legal consultation call us now at (617) 523-7771.
The Wall Street Journal
House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Report