California, Perrigo Reach Agreement on Lead in Baby Food

Feb. 7, 2022
The attorney general of California has reached an agreement with a baby food manufacturer to keep the level of lead in its products to acceptable levels.

The attorney general of California has reached an agreement with a baby food manufacturer to keep the level of lead in its products to acceptable levels.

The office of Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the agreement with Perrigo Co. on Feb. 2. Bonta and the district attorneys of 10 California counties had sued Perrigo, a manufacturer of health care products that include infant and toddler formulas. The suit alleged that Perrigo’s products consistently exceeded the level of lead in baby food allowed under California law: 5 to 7 parts per billion.

Under the settlement, Perrigo will have to “put ingredient sourcing and control processes in place” and “consult with an independent food processing auditor, set internal food quality auditing practices, and conduct compliance testing,” according to a statement from Bonta’s office. No mention was made of any fines or other penalties.

"By agreeing to put ingredient sourcing and quality control processes in place, Perrigo will be able to reduce its lead levels to more than ten times below current federal guidance levels,” Bonta said in the statement. “I hope other companies will take this settlement as evidence that it is possible to reduce the levels of lead in their products — and that if these levels exceed the Prop 65 warning threshold and the companies fail to either reduce the levels or provide a warning, my office won't stand idly by.”

Levels of lead and other heavy metals in baby food has been a chronic target of criticism, with federal lawmakers slamming the major manufacturers and the FDA for the high levels persistently found in those products.

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