While many store-bought baby foods offer convenience to increasingly busy moms, they might be offering too many toxins for developing infants.
Swedish researchers have released a new study revealing toxic baby food. They found alarming levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead in baby foods sold in the United Kingdom. The study, published in the Journal for Food Chemistry, tested nine different brands of baby food and milk formulas from global food producers such as Nestle, Organix and Heinz.
The rice-based products contained increased levels of arsenic—some as high as 50 times higher than breast milk. When you prepare them with tap water, which has varying levels of elements depending on where you live, the concentration could be even higher. Arsenic is known as a poison and has also been linked to cancer.
Despite these new findings, none of the levels of toxins in the foods or formulas broke the official safe limits.
“The producers will say they are not above any guideline values and it is true—they are following all the rules,” said lead Swedish researcher Dr Karin Ljung in the Sunday Telegraph. “The trouble is that the guidelines are not based on infant exposure. As we are getting more information coming out, it is may be time to reconsider what these safety limits are.”
But the news prompted the European Food Safety Authority to re-evaluate its safety limits for arsenic exposure in children and adults.
This study is not the first one to find toxins in rice-based products. California Watch reported: In 2005, Scottish researchers found arsenic in rice grown in the United States. The rice plant absorbs arsenic through the soil, which is contaminated with the toxin. The U.S. has not set legal limits for arsenic levels in food.
“Toxins have always been an issue when it comes to baby food and formula,” said Christine Miskinis, owner and founder of Moms Coach for Life. “Scientists are concerned about higher levels that increase the risks of cancer, and may affect hormones and future fertility.”
Miskinis works with moms who want to learn to make their own baby food and provide their family with optimal nutrition. She learned firsthand how to make her own baby food when her own son had trouble digesting commercial formula.
“The solution for me was easy,” she said. “I made my own homemade formula with the best supplements.”
She said the cost was similar to purchasing formula and took a bit more time, but as she went along she learned to make it in batches and freeze it. She used the same idea for making homemade baby food and it became second nature.
“Honestly, I am not comfortable leaving it to someone else, especially food manufacturers and big companies, to provide my child with proper nutrition,” she said. “Just as with anything else, nutrition starts and ends in the home.”