FDA Provides Updates on Closer to Zero Plan
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
FDA Drafts New Action Levels to Reduce Lead Exposure in Juice

As we have previously blogged, FDA announced a three-phase “Closer to Zero” plan in 2021 to reduce the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury that babies and young children are exposed to.

In regard to arsenic and cadmium, the plan requires FDA to: (1) develop an interim reference level (IRL) for arsenic in phase 1 of the plan (April 2021 to April 2022); (2) propose a draft action level for arsenic and develop an IRL for cadmium in phase 2 of the plan (April 2022 – April 2024); and (3) finalize the arsenic action level and develop a draft action level for cadmium in phase 3 of the plan (April 2024 and beyond).

At a June 14, 2022 webinar on the draft action levels for lead in juice that the Agency recently published (see April 29th post), Conrad Choiniere, Director of the Office of Analytics and Outreach at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), indicated that the Agency has received additional resources to focus on its Closer to Zero plan and that it is likely to release IRLs for both arsenic and cadmium by early 2023 and that draft action levels for both heavy metals would follow in late 2023 to early 2024.  He also reported that an action level for lead in baby food is currently undergoing interagency review and is expected to be released soon.

Keller and Heckman will continue to monitor and report on updates to the Closer to Zero Plan.

Nicholas Prust, Natalie Rainer, and Frederick Stearns also contributed to this article. 


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