Dangerous Baby Food: These Are the Latest Warnings and Recalls for Kids’ Products
First came the Ritz cracker recall. Now, there’s another warning parents need to heed, and this one involves baby food.
Tests by Consumer Reports revealed “worrisome” levels of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium in many baby and toddler foods, such as snacks, prepared entrees, and packaged fruits and veggies. Exposure to heavy metals can harm anyone, but babies and small kids are especially vulnerable, because of “their smaller size and developing brains and organ systems,” said James E. Rogers, Ph.D., Consumer Reports’ director of food safety research and testing.
Ninety percent of kids under the age of 3 eat packaged baby food at least occasionally.
What brands do I need to worry about?
Consumer Reports conducted a spot check of 50 nationally distributed brands. Every product tested had measurable levels of either cadmium, inorganic arsenic, or lead, and 68% had a troubling amount of heavy metal. Products containing rice or sweet potatoes were especially likely to have heavy metals. Buying organic wasn’t a safeguard, either. These products were just as likely to contain heavy metals as their non-organic counterparts.
Products from Gerber, Beech-Nut, Baby Mum-Mum, Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen, Happy Baby, Parents’ Choice, Plum Organics, and Sprout were tested. However, CR says parents shouldn’t necessarily draw conclusions about the safety of specific brands based on the tests.
The FDA has said it’s working to create guidelines regarding arsenic in infant rice cereal. In the meantime, CR suggested parents limit the amount of rice cereal and packaged snacks they feed their kids, as well as seeking out foods like apples, bananas, and avocados that are low in heavy metals.
Weedkiller in cereal?
In August, the Environmental Working Group issued a report warning about glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in cereal. Products from Quaker, General Mills, and Kellogg’s all contained levels of glyphosate that were above what the EWG considers safe levels. However, the levels are below what the EPA considers safe and there’s disagreement about whether glyphosate increases the risk of cancer. So, it might not be time to panic just yet.
Other product warnings and recalls
Baby food and cereal aren’t the only products parents are being warned about. In July, some varieties or Ritz crackers and Goldfish crackers were pulled from shelves because of a possible salmonella risk. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks were also recalled because of salmonella concerns.
These other products were also recently recalled:
- Allura children’s pajamas: 64,000 units recalled because they don’t meet flammability standards.
- BMC Timemachine 01 bicycles: 480 bikes recalled because of a fall hazard.
- J.C. Penney Okie Dokie denim patches shorts: 5,400 pairs of shorts recalled because the patches can detach, causing a choking hazard.
- Helmets R Us: About 9,700 Rollerblade helmets are being recalled because they don’t meet federal safety standards.
- Michaels Creatology Spin Art Kids: The battery compartment in these toys can overheat, which poses a fire and burn hazard.
- Waterpede Bath Toys: The toys can break apart, creating a choking hazard. About 72,000 units have been recalled.
- Jané Muum strollers: 800 strollers recalled because they violate federal standards and pose a strangulation risk.
- My First Porsche Toy Cars: 1,700 of these wooden toy cars have been recalled because they pose a choking hazard.
- Discount School Supply Colorations Extra Large Crayons: Recalled because the red crayons might contain glass.
- Carter’s 3-piece penguin cardigan sets: More than 100,000 of these outfits have been recalled because the toggle button can detach, posing a choking hazard.
This list of recalls isn’t complete. For the latest recall news, visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission website. Safe Kids Worldwide also tracks product recalls from the CPSC, the FDA, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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