Gerber says safety is No. 1 priority after baby food study

Gerber baby food products are seen on a supermarket shelf April 12, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

FREMONT, Mich. — Gerber says a study that found baby foods from major manufacturers contain toxic metals is creating unnecessary concerns about food safety.

The study, conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, tested 168 baby foods from major manufacturers in the U.S. and found 95% contained lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% had cadmium and 32% contained mercury.

A company spokesperson said trace amounts of elements like arsenic and lead occur naturally in the environment, so it’s possible for them to be found in fruits, vegetables and grains.

“Given their natural occurrence in our soil and water, many food safety and agricultural experts suggest that it is not feasible to achieve a ‘zero’ level of these elements — even in homemade foods made from organic ingredients,” the spokesperson said.

Gerber regularly tests its ingredients, conducts random tests on finished products and works with suppliers to achieve high-quality food standards, according to the spokesperson.

“The health and safety of the children who eat our foods has always been our No. 1 priority – and always will be. We continue to refine our rigorous standards by evaluating the latest food safety guidance – from sources like the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organization,” a statement says. “We also leverage our expertise in feeding babies and toddlers, using research from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study to inform our safety standards.

“As part of our efforts to improve, we work alongside third-party organizations, including Happy Babies Bright Futures, on the Baby Food Council: an organization dedicated to reducing heavy metals in foods to the lowest possible limits.”

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