The attorney general of New York State has announced an investigation into whether some popular brands of baby food have excessive levels of arsenic and other heavy metals.
Letitia James said April 29 that she has asked for information about the level of arsenic in rice-based cereal sold by Nestlé, Beech-Nut, Hain Celestial Group and Nurture. James’s action comes after a report from a congressional committee in early February detailed high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in many mainstream baby foods.
There are no regulatory limits for heavy metals in baby food except for arsenic in rice-based cereal, which is a special concern because rice is particularly liable to absorb arsenic from soil and water. However, in a study by a consumer group, levels for the other three metals often exceeded FDA limits for food intended for adults.
The FDA announced early in April the launch of a multiyear program to set maximums for heavy metals in baby food, and federal legislation to set limits has been introduced. The four targets in the New York case, as well as Campbell Soup Co., are also defendants in class-action lawsuits.
James called for the baby food companies in her probe will have until May 28 to detail how they test for arsenic in rice-based baby food. The probe will also look into whether baby food processors have been following New York’s consumer-protection laws relating to advertising.