AG James Leads Coalition Demanding Action on Baby Food Contaminants

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  • New York AG Letitia James led a coalition of 22 AGs in calling for the FDA and USDA to take swift action to address elevated levels of  toxic and heavy metals in baby food, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.
  • According to AG James, the FDA has set or proposed limits on toxic metals in a wide variety of other consumable products — such as bottled water, juice, and candy — but has failed to adequately regulate baby food.  Despite the fact that the FDA has long acknowledged that toxic elements present serious long-term health and developmental risks to young children, the FDA has so far established only one action level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.  Baby food manufacturers are otherwise responsible for self-regulating the amount of toxic metals contained within their products.
  • In its June 23, 2022 letter, the  coalition asserted that the FDA’s “Closer to Zero” partnership with the USDA—which aims to propose and finalize limits on certain toxic metals in baby food –  lacks the necessary urgency to address the ongoing health crisis, and is already behind schedule, having missed an April 2022 deadline to propose limits for lead.
  • As previously reported, the coalition submitted a Citizen Petition to the FDA in October 2021 calling for the agency  to issue interim guidance to address the urgent health risks posed by toxic metals in baby food while implementation of Closer to Zero moves forward.   The AGs recently requested that the FDA reconsider its denial of the coalition’s petition.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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