FDA signals plan to address toxic elements in baby food

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday signaled that it intends to address toxic elements in baby foods after a congressional report found that heavy metals were present in some baby foods.

The agency said in a statement that it will "soon be putting into action a plan aimed at reducing toxic elements in foods for babies and young children to levels as low as is reasonably achievable." 

The FDA said it intended to focus on increased inspections at facilities and boosting sampling of baby foods.

In a letter, the agency reminded manufacturers to "consider chemical hazards that may be present in foods" when performing hazard analysis on their products. 

The announcement comes one month after the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a report finding that some internal company standards "permit dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food."

Some of the foods examined contained levels of arsenic, lead and cadmium.

In a statement on Friday, Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said the announcement "represents a welcome change at FDA. Now that we have partners in the public health agencies, it's reason for optimism for what we can accomplish going forward."

"However, we are disappointed that FDA failed to commit to establishing concrete rules to remove toxic heavy metals from all baby foods," he said. "It highlights the need for Congress to pass legislation with strict standards and timelines." 

Krishnamoorthi announced on Thursday that he -along with Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) - reached out to the agency to request guidance on what limits would be made public on toxic heavy metals in baby food.