baby food

UPDATED 2022: Baby Foods Toxic Heavy Metals List

When parents first heard the news that many major baby food brands contain dangerous amounts of toxic heavy metals, most believed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would step in to better protect children from arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Studies show that exposure to these toxic heavy metals during early childhood can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The FDA reacted to the 2021 baby food report on heavy metals by creating the Closer to Zero campaign, which aims to limit the amounts of toxic metals in baby foods over time. The problem? The plan gradually phases out heavy metals from baby food by 2024. Some experts have predicted it may take even longer than the proposed 2024 date to make significant changes to industry practices. How are parents supposed to protect their children from heavy metals in baby foods in the meantime?

“The unfortunate reality is that the FDA has left parents with the burden of researching every product they buy to ensure they are not inadvertently feeding their child arsenic, lead, and other dangerous toxic metals,” says baby food lawyer Pedram Esfandiary. “To date, the FDA has only enacted limits for heavy metals in infant rice cereal and juice, so parents are essentially on their own to figure out for themselves the risks associated with all other foods they give their children.”

Esfandiary and his colleagues are preparing to take the first toxic baby food lawsuit to trial next year. Baum Hedlund currently represents thousands of parents throughout the nation who allege their children developed autism and/or ADHD after consuming baby foods from the following companies:

To better assist parents looking for brands and products to avoid, we have created an updated 2022 baby foods toxic heavy metals list (click here for our list of baby foods to avoid from March of 2022). Below you will find baby foods that tested at high levels for arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. The list is based on the recently released report from Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that has been following the heavy metals issue for years.

2022 List of Baby Foods That Contain Toxic Heavy Metals

In its August 2022 report, HBBF tested 288 foods and analyzed more than 7,000 additional baby food testing data from published studies. The report found that:

  • 94% of all food samples tested had detectable amounts of toxic heavy metals. This included store-bought baby foods as well as homemade purees.
  • Rice cakes and crisped rice cereal were heavily contaminated with arsenic.
  • High levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead were found in fresh carrots and sweet potatoes. HBBF recommends parents to vary the sourcing of these products and peel before serving.

Baby foods most contaminated with toxic metals (in order of most contaminated):

  • Rice Cakes
  • Crisped Rice Cereal
  • Rice Puffs
  • Brown Rice
  • Rice Teething Biscuits and Rusks
  • White Rice
  • Raisins
  • Teething Crackers (Non-Rice)
  • Granola Bars with Raisins
  • Oat-Ring Cereal

Baby Food High in Arsenic

The FDA has a maximum allowable limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) arsenic in bottled water, yet the parts per billion of arsenic in a large portion baby food far exceeds this limit, putting babies at a severely higher risk of absorbing this toxic heavy metal. It is important to remember that infants and babies consume more food in relation to their body weight and absorb arsenic more readily than adults.

Below are some of the baby foods that the HBBF report indicated for high levels of arsenic:

  • Nature’s Promise Organic – Puffs, Broccoli & Spinach Whole Grain (372 ppb)
  • Full Circle Market – Multigrain Rice Cakes Organic (355 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Puffs Organic Grain Snack Sweet Potato & Carrot (318 ppb)
  • Hyvee – Rice Cakes Whole Grain Salted (302 ppb)
  • WaterMaid – Rice Medium Grain Enriched (278 ppb)
  • Organics – Rice Cakes Unsalted (251 ppb)
  • Lundberg – Rice Cake Whole Grain Brown Rice Lightly Salted (208 ppb)
  • Mahatma – Rice, Whole Grain Brown (203 ppb)
  • Lundberg – Rice Cake Whole Grain Brown Rice No Salt (201 ppb)
  • Lieber’s – Rice Cakes With Salt (196 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes Lightly Salted 100% Whole Grain (196 ppb)
  • Shop Rite – Rice Cakes – Lightly Salted 10g Whole Grain Fat Free (193 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes Lightly Salted (187 ppb)
  • Essential Everyday – White Rice (182 ppb)
  • Signature Select – Enriched Long Grain Rice (163 ppb)
  • Wegmans – White Rice Jasmine Organic (139 ppb)
  • Good & Gather – Long Grain Brown Rice (138 ppb)
  • Gerber – Rice Cereal Single Grain Supported Sitter 1st Foods (122 ppb)
  • Gerber – Rice Organic, Single Grain Cereal, Supported Sitter 1st Foods (118 ppb)
  • Organics – Puffs Purple Carrot and Blueberry (118 ppb)
  • Earth’s Best Organic – Rice Cereal Organic Iron Fortified (109 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes, Butter Popcorn (110 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Teethers Organic Sweet Potatoes and Bananas (95 ppb)
  • Gerber – Teethers Strawberry Apple Spinach (89.1 ppb)
  • Nature’s Promise Organic – Rice Rusks Organic Apple (86.9 ppb)
  • Lundberg – White Rice Basmati (84.9 ppb)
  • Kroger – Rice Long Grain Enriched (80 ppb)
  • Nature’s Promise Organic – Rice Rusks, Organic Apple (79.4 ppb)
  • Gerber – Teethers Banana Peach, 7+ Months (73.7 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Teether Crackers Organic Strawberry & Beet (55.2 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Teether Crackers Organic Mango & Pumpkin (52.3 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Teether Crackers Organic Blueberries and Purple Carrots (51.5 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs (49.7 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs Blueberry Crawler (48.8 ppb)
  • Organics – Teething Wafers Baked Rice Snack Banana Flavored (43.9 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs Banana Crawler (43.7 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs Strawberry Apple Crawler (43.7 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs Sweet Potato Crawler (41.4 ppb)
  • Gerber – Oatmeal Single Grain, Supported Sitter 1st Foods (39.7 ppb)
  • General Mills – Cheerios 100% Whole Grain Oats Cereal (34.3 ppb)
  • Kroger – Original Oats Instant Oatmeal (30.9 ppb)

Baby Food High in Lead

The FDA has a maximum allowable limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb) lead in bottled water, yet the amount of lead in some popular baby foods surpasses this limit by at least four times in some cases. It is important to remember that infants and babies consume more food in relation to their body weight and absorb lead more readily than adults.

Below are some of the baby foods that the HBBF report indicated for high levels of lead:

  • O Organics – Puffs Purple Carrot and Blueberry (22.8 ppb)
  • Birds Eye – Green Beans Steamfresh Cut, Frozen (22.4 ppb)
  • Gerber – Sweet Potato Supported Sitter 1st Foods (19.6 ppb)
  • Plum Organics – Just Sweet Potato Stage 1, 4 Months & Up (18.2 ppb)
  • Earth’s Best Organic – Rice Cereal Organic Iron Fortified (16.4 ppb)
  • Happy BABY – Teether Crackers Organic Strawberry & Beet (13.4 ppb)

Baby Food High in Cadmium

The FDA has a maximum allowable limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb) cadmium in bottled water, however, the quantity of cadmium in an assortment of baby foods contains much higher (dangerous) levels of cadmium. It is important to remember that infants and babies consume more food in relation to their body weight and absorb cadmium more readily than adults.

Below are some of the baby foods that the HBBF report indicated for high levels of cadmium:

  • Kroger – Rice Long Grain Enriched (139 ppb)
  • Good & Gather – Long Grain Brown Rice (107 ppb)
  • O Organics – Puffs Purple Carrot and Blueberry (96 ppb)
  • Earth’s Best Organic – Rice Cereal Organic Iron Fortified (44 ppb)
  • John McCann – Oatmeal Steel Cut (42.3 ppb)
  • Publix – Carrots Baby-Cut Peeled (39.7 ppb)
  • Kroger – Original Oats Instant Oatmeal 100% Whole Grain Quick 1 Minute (37.8 ppb)
  • Vegco – Carrots Canada (30.6 ppb)
  • Simple Truth Organic – Whole Carrots (29.3 ppb)
  • Gerber – Carrot, Natural for Baby, Sitter 2nd Foods (25.8 ppb)
  • Gerber – Carrot Sitter 2nd Foods (24.7 ppb)
  • General Mills – Cheerios 100% Whole Grain Oats Cereal (24.4 ppb)
  • Bolthouse Farms – Carrots (22.3 ppb)
  • Great Value – Old Fashioned Oats (21.8 ppb)
  • Essential Everyday – White Rice (20.2 ppb)
  • Gerber – Puffs (19.7 ppb)
  • Kroger – Oats 100% Whole Grain Quick 1 Minute (19.6 ppb)
  • Mahatma – Rice Whole Grain Brown (19.4 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes Lightly Salted (18.9 ppb)
  • Nature’s Promise Organic – Puffs Broccoli & Spinach Whole Grain (18.6 ppb)
  • O Organics – Toasted O’s Cereal (16.9 ppb)
  • Fifth Crow – Carrots Organic (16.8 ppb)
  • Signature Select – Enriched Long Grain Rice (16.2 ppb)
  • Gerber – Oatmeal Single Grain, Supported Sitter 1st Foods (15.3 ppb)
  • Beech-Nut – Whole Grain Baby Cereal (15.3 ppb)

Baby Food High in Mercury

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a maximum allowable limit of 2 parts per billion (ppb) mercury in drinking water, yet the levels of mercury in some common baby food is twice that in some cases. It is important to remember that infants and babies consume more food in relation to their body weight and absorb mercury more readily than adults.

Below are some of the baby foods that the HBBF report indicated for high levels of mercury:

  • Hyvee – Rice Cakes Whole Grain Salted (4.8 ppb)
  • Wegmans – White Rice Jasmine Organic (4.1 ppb)
  • Mahatma – Rice, Whole Grain Brown (3.7 ppb)
  • Essential Everyday – White Rice (3.7 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes, Butter Popcorn (3.6 ppb)
  • Quaker – Rice Cakes Lightly Salted 100% Whole Grain (3.4 ppb)

These Baby Foods Were the Least Contaminated with Heavy Metals

Baby foods least contaminated with toxic metals (in order of least contaminated):

  • Bananas
  • Grits
  • Branded Meats
  • Butternut Squash
  • Lamb
  • Apples
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon

The HBBF report recommends parents limit or rotate the following food products to avoid heavy metals:

  • Cantaloupe – Should remain on the menu but consumed less than daily.
  • Canned Fruit – Better choices are fresh or frozen.
  • Sweet Potato, Potato, Carrot, and Baby Spinach – Rotate these foods and serve a variety (not the same one each day)
  • Peanut Butter – Should remain on the menu but consumed less than daily.
  • Fruit Juice (Not Grape) – 100% fruit juices are considered safe as long as they are rotated and not consumed daily. Better choices are fresh fruit and water.
  • Oatmeal, Barley, Millet, Farro - Rotate these foods and serve a variety (not the same one each day).

Why Toxic Metals Are Bad

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that babies and young children exposed to arsenic, cadmium, lead, and/or mercury may suffer from permanent decreases in IQ, increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior, and untreatable, potentially permanent brain damage. Yet, the FDA is acting too slow and not doing enough to protect children and get baby food manufacturers to eliminate toxic heavy metals from its foods.

Linda McCauley, the Dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, says, “[n]o level of exposure to these metals has been shown to be safe in vulnerable infants.” She adds that exposure to several sources of heavy metals can cause cumulative effects that are particularly dangerous for young children.

For more information on the dangers of toxic metals, you can read expert reports from the toxic baby food litigation our firm is conducting:

Baby Food Lawsuit 2022

Baby food lawyers from the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represent thousands of parents against several baby food manufacturers, alleging they knowingly sell products with dangerous levels of toxic metals. If your child was diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD and you believe the heavy metals in baby food are the cause, you may be able to pursue justice and compensation in a baby food autism lawsuit. Please fill out our case evaluation contact form or call our lawyers today at (855) 948-5098.

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