US lawmakers have presented a bill that would establish new maximum levels of toxic metals in baby food products if passed, and give the government the authority to recall products that do not meet these standards.
Formally introduced to the US House of Representatives on 26 March, The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 aims to regulate the levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury found in baby food and cereal products.
Under the proposed regulations, baby food could contain no more than ten parts per billion (ppb) of inorganic arsenic, five ppb of lead and cadmium and two ppb of mercury. Cereal products could contain no more than 15 ppb of inorganic arsenic, no more than ten ppb of lead and cadmium and two ppb of mercury.
Manufacturers of baby foods and infant formula products for children up to 36 months would need to comply with these new limits within one year of the legislation taking effect.
The bill also requires levels of toxic metals to be lowered further within two years through FDA guidance, and within three years through regulation. It would also mandate manufacturers to test final products and ingredients for toxic heavy metals and post these results online.
Democrat party representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tony Cárdenas introduced this bill in congress, while senators Amy Klobuchar and Tammy Duckworth introduced the bill in the senate.
The introduction of the bill follows a report from the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy last month, which alleged that many baby foods on sale in the US are “tainted with dangerous levels” of toxic metals and expressed concerns about the impact of these substances on infant health.
Following the report, the FDA stated that it would boost sampling of baby foods and increase inspections. The agency also stated that it would work with manufacturers and legislators to move ahead with a “plan aimed at reducing toxic elements in foods for babies and young children to levels as low as is reasonably achievable.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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