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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Leads Letter To Committees Requesting Funding In The Reconciliation Bill To Make Baby Food Safer

July 23, 2021
Press Release
The Funding Request is Based on Provisions in the Bicameral Baby Food Safety Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), authors of the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, sent a letter to Congressman Frank Pallone, the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Senator Patty Murray, the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, requesting that the upcoming reconciliation bill include $50 million to research agricultural methods of reducing toxic heavy metals in crops that are used to make baby food. According to the FDA, the levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food depend in part on the environment and methods by which the crops are grown, and additional scientific research is needed to fully understand how these factors interact and can be overcome for the sake of children’s health.

“My investigation as Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy found that some baby foods contained 91 times the arsenic level, up to 177 times the lead level, and up to 69 times the cadmium level of the FDA’s allowable level of those metals for bottled water,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. “These metals can impact infant behavioral and physical development, gravely harming child health and safety in America.”

“I introduced legislation to reduce toxins in baby food with Representative Krishnamoorthi because I refuse to settle when it comes to the health and safety of our children,” said Senator Klobuchar. “As we work to pass our legislation, it’s key that we allocate resources to the scientific research necessary to holistically address this problem. I’ll keep fighting to get answers, hold manufacturers accountable, and give parents the peace of mind they deserve.”

“Like parents all across America, I was horrified to learn that trusted baby food brands sell products containing high levels of toxic lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “If we want our kids to grow up healthy and safe, we need to invest in research that will help keep these harmful metals out of their food.”

In the letter, the Representatives and Senators note that consuming toxic heavy metals can have serious impacts on early childhood development, including decreased IQ and central nervous system damage. Ensuring that crops do not contain dangerous levels of heavy toxic metals will improve the safety of the baby food sold on store shelves and fed to American children.

“As outlined in President Biden’s American Families Plan, access to nutritious food is key for children’s health and academic success, as well as the country’s future economic strength and military readiness. We encourage you to consider safe, healthy baby food as a critical component of the diet we strive to provide each and every American child with[in] the proposed $45 billion investment [in nutrition] outlined in the Plan,” the Members and Senators wrote.

“Farmers can take steps to reduce toxic metals in rice and other ingredients in baby food. They can change where they grow, and they can change of how they grow, to reduce the presence of lead, arsenic and other metals that put our baby’s at risk. This proposal will ensure that the FDA has the resources needed to work with farmers to implement these badly needed steps. Sharp reductions in arsenic in juice and infant rice cereal show what farmers can do when we get the incentives right,” Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group said.

“No farmer is purposely adding lead or arsenic or cadmium to the crops they are growing for baby food. They need help in figuring out how these toxic metals are getting in and what they can do to get them out. This proposal aims to give farmers what they need to make baby food safer,” Charlotte Brody, RN, National Director, Healthy Babies Bright Futures said.

Read the full letter here.