Heavy Metals and Baby Food: What You Need to Know
Your baby’s first bites matter. A study was recently published about concerning levels of heavy metals in some baby foods including lead, cadmium and inorganic arsenic. Obviously this isn’t helping eliminate stress around feeding, so we want to reach out to you to share our thoughts about this study and how seriously we take food safety and quality in the Little Spoon kitchen! When we opened our Little Spoon kitchen last fall, we set out on a mission to help make parents’ lives easier by providing you with the freshest, healthiest baby food available. Because your baby’s first bites matter, our goal was to eliminate all stress and worry around feeding your baby the best quality food to support healthy development. We wanted to take this opportunity to assure you of the quality and safety of our food and give you the download on what was uncovered by the study.
Unfortunately, while regulated by the FDA, baby food standards are quite low, allowing shelf-stable and highly processed food to become the norm. This inherently exposes the food to way higher levels of metals than is necessary.
At Little Spoon, we are disappointed with these findings, and as founders felt compelled to write to you – our Little Spoon Family and Community – to help educate you and explain how we work to provide you with a safe, fresh alternative that isn’t highly processed. Read on for everything you need to know about this alarming study.
What food is affected?
All 50 samples tested included popular store bought baby food – think shelf-stable (non-refrigerated) jars and pouches – including Gerber, Beech Nut, Baby Mum Mum, Parent’s Choice, Happy Baby and Plum Organics. 68% of the samples had worrisome levels of at least one heavy metal.
How do these toxins get into the store-bought food?
There are two ways these metals can get into baby food. One way is through contaminated soil. At Little Spoon, we source all of our ingredients from trusted partner farms who are USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and follow rigorous testing of various organisms as well as heavy metals. We receive regular third-party reports on their testing and there have never been instances of heavy metals. Taking this extra step, allows us to control for the cleanest sources of ingredients to ensure the highest quality baby food possible.
Another way the metals can get into baby food is from equipment used to process food. According to the study, over-processing is likely the cause of the toxin contamination. Why? In order for jarred and pouch baby food to last for years on the shelf, the ingredients are processed and handled by containers and machines that can be coated with brass, bronze or plastic. Because Little Spoon is a company that produces in small batches by hand, our food is not handled by risky machinery or containers.
Why are the metals dangerous for my baby?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are no safe levels of lead for children. It can impair brain development, lead to lower IQs and cause behavioral problems. If consumed regularly over time, cadmium and inorganic arsenic can lead to cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney.
This is pretty horrible. So here are some actionable next steps you can take as a parent:
1. Provide your baby or child with a varied diet. Foods high in iron, calcium and vitamin C can help protect against the absorption of toxic metals.
2. Minimize how much shelf-stable, processed baby food you’re giving your little one. Freshmade like Little Spoon is always the safest way to ensure that nothing weird or harmful, like toxins, gets into your baby food.
3. Stay away from juices. We all know juice isn’t good for babies – the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it due to the unnecessary sugar. Past reports have found levels of lead and inorganic arsenic in apple and grape juices both of which are added to a lot of the baby food that was tested in the study.
For those of you who are looking for an alternative fresh option, we encourage you to reach out to us. Check out our recipes. We do everything we can to help you take care of your little one and we’d love to be part of your journey.