On March 25, Congressmembers introduced The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) to limit the presence of toxic elements in infant and toddler food. Within a year of the Act coming into effect, manufacturers of infant formula and toddler food for kids up to 36 months would be required to adhere to the following initial maximum levels:
- Inorganic arsenic: 10 ppb for infant and toddler food (except cereal) and 15 ppb for infant and toddler food that is cereal
- Cadmium: 5 ppb for infant and toddler food (except cereal) and 10 ppb for infant and toddler food that is cereal
- Lead: 5 ppb for infant and toddler food (except cereal) and 10 ppb for infant and toddler food that is cereal
- Mercury: 2 ppb
Within 3 years of the date of enactment, the Secretary must set final regulatory limits that are lower than those mentioned above to levels protective of infant and toddler neurological development. Every 5 years afterwards, the established levels must be reviewed, and if needed, lowered by regulation. The Act also permits the Secretary to establish interim action levels and regulatory limits for toxic elements in infant and toddler food.
The Act was introduced by Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi. In an announcement with Representative Tony Cardenas, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Krishnamoorthi stated that the Act was introduced “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 foods safe for consumption.” As our readers know, the Act follows a February report from the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy that reported on the levels of heavy metals found in baby foods produced by seven of the largest baby food manufacturers in the U.S.