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Baby Food Safety Funding Championed By Krishnamoorthi, Klobuchar, Duckworth, And Cárdenas Approved By Appropriations Committee

July 2, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), the Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, commended the House Appropriations Committee’s approval of funding they sought to support the FDA’s efforts to remove neurotoxins from baby food. In March, the Members introduced the bicameral Baby Food Safety Act, in the wake of the Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy's discovery that nearly every leading baby food has demonstrated dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals. In response to the request, the Appropriations Committee agreed to provide $12,900,000 for the FDA’s Closer to Zero program to begin developing action levels and provide guidance on best practices for reducing and eliminating toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, from infant and toddler foods.

“My investigation earlier this year revealed that baby food companies are knowingly selling dangerously tainted products for our children, and this funding will help the FDA’s Closer to Zero Program end that practice,” said Chairman Krishnamoorthi. “Parents expect the food they see on store shelves for their children is safe, but unfortunately it hasn’t been. The House Appropriations Committee’s approval of this funding for current FDA initiatives is a major step in the right direction, and I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in this effort and our continuing work to further expand oversight through the Baby Food Safety Act.”

“It’s unacceptable that despite parents’ best efforts to keep their children safe, some leading baby food manufacturers have put products on the market that expose children to dangerous toxins. When these harmful products make their way onto our grocery store shelves, they put the health of countless children at risk. These additional resources for the FDA’s Closer to Zero program will be vital in protecting children, and I’ll keep fighting to give parents the peace of mind they deserve,” said Senator Klobuchar. 

"It is unacceptable that many types of commonly sold baby and toddler food products contain harmful levels of toxic heavy metals that pose a risk to babies and their development, " said Senator Duckworth. "I'm pleased that the House Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction on this issue has included funding for the FDA's Closer to Zero program, and as the Senate lead on this effort, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this vital program has the resources necessary to improve baby food safety quickly and safely.”

“No parent or caregiver should ever have to worry about whether the food they purchase contains toxic metals that would have a negative long-term impact on their child’s health. I thank the House Appropriations Committee for joining our efforts to reduce exposure to toxic elements in our children’s food,” said  Congressman Cárdenas.

Healthy Babies Bright Futures, an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors working to create and support initiatives that measurably reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals in the first 1,000 days of development wrote of the news, “Including full funding for FDA’s Closer to Zero program in the Appropriations for the FDA will, in time, make baby food safer and give parents one less thing to worry about.”

Chairman Krishnamoorthi, Senators Klobuchar and Duckworth, and Congressman Cárdenas introduced the Baby Food Safety Act in March 2021 to dramatically reduce toxic heavy metals in baby food, educate parents about the risks, and invest in cutting edge farming technology to reduce any economic barriers to making baby food safe for consumption.

Click here to read the bill text.

Click here to read the one-pager.

Click here to read the section-by-section.

Click here to read the endorsements for the bill.

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy’s report on baby food toxicity which sparked the legislation can be read here.