Analysis finds lead in 1 in 5 baby food samples

Samples studied not identified by brand

The Environmental Defense Fund has analyzed a decade’s worth of data from the Food and Drug administration that shows lead was detected in 20 percent of baby food samples.

The data collected by the FDA covers a 10-year period from 2003 to 2013. The samples studied by the FDA were identified by brand. The levels of lead present are thought to be relatively low.

“We don’t know of any safe lead levels, so any lead exposure is not a good lead exposure, especially the younger you get,” said Dr. Tom Murwin, a pediatrician with SSM Health.

The analysis of the baby food data showed lead was most commonly found in fruit juices, root vegetables, like sweet potato and carrots, Arrowroot cookies and teething biscuits.

Grape juice showed the highest percentage with 89 percent of samples showing detectable lead levels.
“Infants do not need any juices until a year of age. From a year to 4 years of age they should maybe have four ounces of juice a day,” Murwin said.

The findings reinforce for Murwin the advice he has been giving to parents.

“My reaction is you can easily make your own baby food. You can take a simple thing like a fork and mash up any fruit and vegetable,” Murwin said.

Eight years ago Tara Verma started doing just that. When the first of her two children were born, Verma started using a food processor to make their food.

She now teaches other parents how to make food for their babies. Her company, Yummy Sprout offers classes and recipes for baby food.

She said it removes any doubt about what is in the food.

“I think that is really important. I think that is one of the biggest benefits of making your own baby food is you know exactly what is in it. You don’t have to question it at all. If you made it, you know what’s in it,” Verma said.

For more information about the classes and recipes offered by Yummy Sprout, visit their website .