Heavy Metals and Baby Food: What You Need to Know

A recent study reveals heavy metals in shelf-stabilized baby food. Lets break it down together.



  • In 2018, a Consumer Report study revealed the dangerously high levels of heavy metals found in shelf-stabilized baby food. A 2019 report from Healthy Babies Bright Futures then confirmed that shelf-stabilized and particularly rice cereal brands have a long way to go in ensuring safety for our babies.
  • In 2019, Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) tested 168 baby foods. 95% tested contained 1 or more heavy metals, and 1 in 4 contained all four toxins; cadmium, inorganic arsenic, mercury and lead. Bottom line: the levels of heavy metal in store-bought baby food continue to be beyond the minimum of what a child should safely consume.
  • Earlier this year, a new report was released by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform U.S. House of Representatives on heavy metal in baby foods. This report relied on data from four companies and found that “commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.”
  • Currently, the FDA does not set any limits on levels of heavy metals in baby food, aside from arsenic in rice cereal. On the other hand, the agency does regulate lead levels in bottled water, juice, and candy, as well as limits arsenic and cadmium in bottled water, according to The New York Times.
  • The FDA has cautioned that rice cereal does not need to be a baby’s first solid food and that it shouldn’t be relied on heavily.
  • The report notes that heavy metals do naturally occur in some grains and produce, but the levels may be increased by the addition of other ingredients that are tainted with high levels of metals.  
  • On September 29, 2021, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform issued a press release on the issue of heavy metals in grocery store baby food and recommended that the FDA accelerate its proposed timelines for publishing final limits for these toxic heavy metals. 

In the last few years, Baby World has been abuzz with talk of heavy metals and baby food. First, in late 2019, a report came out that revealed the disturbing levels of heavy metals found in most grocery-store baby food. Then, as recently as February 2020, a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee released a new report that found significant levels of heavy toxins in commercial baby food.

We know this news may be concerning and scary, to say the least.. But rest assured, while there’s no perfect solution to eliminate 100% heavy metals from the foods we eat and the foods we feed our families, we can take precautions and make choices that significantly lower our exposure. And that’s exactly what we do at Little Spoon.

What Can We Do As Parents?

  • Go Fresh: Cook yourself or choose food that is made in smaller batches, more similar to homemade and not subjected to heavy and extensive processing. This will reduce the unnecessary exposure to toxins beyond what is naturally occurring in produce.
  • Fight Metals With the Right Ingredients: Ingredients rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron can help block the absorption of heavy metals. Look for foods that contain ingredients such as broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, kale, chia, blueberries, spirulina, spinach and pineapple.
  • Ensure Variety: some produce, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, have naturally occurring higher levels of heavy metals than other produce. While these foods are healthy and an important part of every child’s diet, ensuring a varied diet with other fruits and vegetables can decrease risk.

How Is Little Spoon Different?

  • 100% USDA-Certified Organic & Non-GMO Ingredients: We only partner with trusted farms who regularly perform testing on their ingredients.
  • We Work With Trusted Partners: We work hard to source from trusted partners that regularly test their crops. As the only nationwide fresh baby food delivery company, we have traceability on where and when all of our food is sent (unlike grocery store brands). 
  • We Say No To Old Heavy Machinery and Yes to Safe Cleaning Agents: All of our food is made in small batches, using organic ingredients, and never treated with extreme heat. Toxins can make their way into store-bought food as a result of lengthy processing with old, heavy machinery that’s coated with brass, bronze or plastic, or as a result of the cleaning agents used by some commercial production facilities.
  • We Skip the Rice Cereal: Rice cereal and baby food that contains rice (especially brown rice) can be high in inorganic and inorganic arsenic, and is not necessary for the starting solids journey. Instead, we opt for organic chia, hemp, and buckwheat in our Babyblends.
  • Our Recipes: We ensure your babe gets a varied diet through a rotating menu of Babyblends using 100+ organic ingredients. Exposure to a wide variety of ingredients ensures your baby’s diet isn’t limited to those that can have naturally higher levels of heavy metals. Additionally, we use ingredients that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C and iron. These vitamins and nutrients help block absorption of heavy metals that can be naturally found in produce.
  • Our Vitamins & Probiotics: We are the only brand that offers both fresh, organic baby food and clean vitamins & supplements. For digestion, instead of rice cereals, opt for a clean supplement such as Gut Feeling, which is made up of probiotics that can help with digestion.


Freshly made, small-batch food like Little Spoon is always the safest way to ensure your baby is getting the most thoughtfully prepared, highest quality food. We do everything we can to help you take the best care of your little one and we love being a part of your journey. 

Additional questions? We’re here for you. Reach out to us at [email protected] or text us at 415.855.4155

Want to take a deeper dive on this topic? Read the 2019 report here and the 2021 report here.


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    Tags: fresh, Fresh Finds, heavy metals, old baby food, organic