- A California law requires baby food manufacturers to test products for metals
- The companies will also be required to post the results online for consumers to see
- READ MORE: California becomes first US state to ban cancer-causing additives
Under a new bill, baby food manufacturers in California will be forced to test for toxic metals and post the results on the products’ websites.
Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law on Tuesday, the first measure of its kind in the US requiring companies to disclose how much metal is in food. The goal of the bill is to get these manufacturers to start removing the pollutants, which have been linked to developmental problems, low IQ and cancer.
Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at watchdog Consumer Reports, said: ‘The last thing parents expect to find in baby food are toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and lead that can threaten their child’s health and wellbeing.’
“California’s new law fills a critical gap in the FDA’s efforts to reduce heavy metals in baby food. By requiring food companies to test their products and post the results online, they are encouraged to remove dangerous levels of heavy metals from their products and keep babies safe and healthy.”
Newsom’s new law will require baby food manufacturers to list amounts of metal on their websites and disclose it using a QR code on the product label starting in 2025 if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes a limit on that material .
From 2024, the law will require baby food manufacturers to test a sample of each of their products every month for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. They must then provide the results to the California Department of Health upon request.
The law requires manufacturers to post the results on their websites starting in 2025 and make them public using a QR code on the product label if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes a limit on that material.
The FDA has previously set limits on these metals, but does not strictly enforce them. The agency does not require testing of finished products to determine whether manufacturers are meeting the limits, and it does not require companies to disclose test results to consumers.
A Consumer Reports survey earlier this year found that the majority of popular baby foods still contain lead, arsenic and cadmium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Young children exposed to it may experience impaired development of their brain and nervous system.
About 2.5 percent of children under the age of five have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead, according to experts.
As a result, they may have delayed growth, learning, behavior, hearing and speech problems.
And the threat persists into adulthood. A 2018 study published in The Lancet suggested that even low levels of lead from food and other sources contributed to 400,000 deaths per year, half of which were from heart disease.
In addition, arsenic, which was found in several products, is a carcinogen that increases the risk of bladder, lung and skin cancer.
It has also been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders and a higher risk of infant mortality.
The new bill comes days after Newsom signed an initiative banning several additives shown to cause cancer.