The Food and Drug Administration has yet to take any action, despite having spent three years quietly exploring the issue of toxic contaminants in food during the Trump administration.
“This is not a baby food problem. This is a food problem,” said Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director at the Environmental Defense Fund, which has lobbied for more regulation of heavy metals.
The congressional report, released earlier this month by a House Oversight Committee panel, found that four major baby food brands — Beech-Nut, Gerber, Earth’s Best Organic and HappyBABY — sold products that their own internal testing showed contained arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels far higher than what most health experts consider safe for infants.
In the days following the report, each of the baby food companies sought to reassure parents that their products are safe and that they follow very high standards for sourcing ingredients, but it’s done little to lessen the blowback.
Though in some cases the companies knew their ingredients contained elevated levels of heavy metals, the baby food makers at the center of the investigation weren’t violating any rules because the FDA has not set standards for most heavy metals in baby food.
The FDA, which has historically focused most of its attention on foodborne pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria, in 2017 launched a working group to look at heavy metals and other contaminants in food, cosmetics and supplements to little fanfare —…