Heavy Metals and Baby Food: What You Need to Know

A 2023 study reveals heavy metals are found in both homemade and some packaged store-bought baby food. Let’s break down the facts and what parents can do, together.

Over the last 5 years, a number of studies have revealed dangerously high levels of heavy metals found in shelf-stabilized baby food. A 2023 Consumer Reports study has uncovered amounts of lead, arsenic, and cadmium in baby foods appear to be getting lower, the overall risk hasn’t changed much in the past five years.

We know this new report may be concerning and scary, to say the least— but here’s the truth: there is no perfect solution that’s going to eliminate all heavy metals from the foods we eat. Why? Because heavy metals are found naturally in our soils, our water and even the air. And the natural levels have only been exacerbated by human pollution.

Unfortunately, these environmental issues are not just impacting baby food, but rather our entire global food system, making dialogue and advocacy for stronger environmental policies to protect our soils all the more important. 

Rest assured, while there’s no way 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. Companies like Little Spoon partner with the Clean Label Project to test their baby food for over 400+ contaminants including heavy metals to ensure that their food is safe for your little one.

What Can We Do As Parents?

  • Feed a varied diet. Variety exposes your little one’s palate, offers a range of nutritional benefits and helps avoid reliance on one ingredient for nutrition that could be naturally higher in heavy metals.  
  • Incorporate ingredients rich in calcium and iron.  The AAP recommends a baby’s diet to be high in calcium and iron to help reduce lead absorption. 
  • Skip the rice in the baby stage, an ingredient known to higher levels of organic and inorganic arsenic. Instead, opt for organic grains and seeds like chia, oats or buckwheat. 
  • Source from the right farms. Soil, water and agricultural practices are critical to limiting heavy metal exposure. 
  • Use your voice. Currently, the FDA does not set any limits on levels of heavy metals in baby food, aside from arsenic in rice cereal. Parents deserve to have trust in the foods that nourish their families. 

How Is Little Spoon Different?

  • We use 100+ USDA Certified Organic + non-GMO ingredients sourced from farmers who utilize the best agricultural practices including soil quality testing. 
  • We voluntarily partner with the Clean Label Project, a non-profit focused on consumer transparency, to test our finished Babyblends for 400+ contaminants including heavy metals and regularly have blind testing throughout the year as part of this partnership. 
  • We avoid using rice in our baby food, an ingredient known to have high levels of organic and inorganic arsenic. Instead, we utilize ingredients like organic chia, hemp, quinoa, oats and buckwheat
  • We offer purees with calcium and iron-rich ingredients like flaxseed, kale, spinach and broccoli, which help reduce the body’s absorption of heavy metals. 
  • We encourage exposing your baby to a varied diet for your little one’s long term health and offer 45 different recipes so you have a range of options at every stage. 

Freshly made, USDA certified organic purees made for your little one’s safe and nutritious starting solids journey. 

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

Want to take a deeper dive on this topic? Read the 2019 report here and the 2021 report here. You can also read the Congressional report here


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