Written by Shelley Cameron

Serenity Kids Urges FDA to Regulate Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Serenity Kids Urges FDA to Regulate Heavy Metals in Baby Food
Estimated time to read 5 minutes

Serenity Kids Urges FDA to Regulate Heavy Metals in Baby Food

It is pretty rare for a company to encourage the government to regulate themselves; most companies actually pay huge sums of money to lobbyists to prevent being regulated. But, Serenity Kids is different—we value the health of babies, little ones, and the safety of future generations over huge profit gains; so much so, that we were one of only two baby food brands to show up and speak up to the Food and Drug Administration in support of new regulations on heavy metals in baby food.

As of today, the FDA does not have standards and benchmarks to regulate heavy metals across baby food segments. It only regulates some heavy metals for infant formulas and cereals, but not in baby food purees - which is a large segment of the overall baby food category. Additionally, heavy metals in baby food require NO label or warning to parents, and baby food companies are not required to know and/or report the heavy metals inside their products. Read our article here about The Truth about Heavy Metals in Baby Food. 

US Congress’ Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 Urges FDA to Set Heavy Metals Limits

Multiple consumer groups have found heavy metals in major baby food brands (read our reactions to the heavy metals in baby food reports here) and have urged Congress to investigate this matter. Congress’ findings verified the consumer groups’ results, and Congress proposed a bill (introduced by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)): The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021. If passed, this bill would require manufacturers and the FDA to take long-overdue action by:

  • Setting maximum levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury allowed in baby food. Manufacturers would have a one year grace period before before they must comply.
  • Requiring those levels to be lowered further within two years through FDA guidance, and further again after three years.
  • Requiring manufacturers to test their final products – not just ingredients – for toxic heavy metals (ingredient testing can underestimate toxic heavy metal levels).
  • Requiring manufacturers to post the results of their product testing online twice per year.
  • Establishing a public awareness campaign through the Center for Disease Control to highlight the risks posed by toxic heavy metals in baby food.
  • Authorizing $50 million for research on agricultural methods of reducing toxic heavy metals in crops.

Parents have a right to know what contaminants are in the foods they buy for their vulnerable, young children.

As quoted from The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, “Parents expect the baby food sold on store shelves to be safe and healthy and are depending on the federal government to finally address this grave issue impacting youth public health. Our bicameral legislation will 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.”

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FDA’s Closer to Zero Action Plan and Calls for Public Comment 

The FDA has begun that process, and one of the steps was issuing a call for public comment, the Closer to Zero Action Plan: Impacts of Toxic Element Exposure and Nutrition at Different Crucial Developmental Stages. This virtual meeting was the first of several expected meetings on the Closer to Zero (C2Z) action plan to receive stakeholder input. Serenity Kids is proud to be one of two baby food brands to not only show up but also speak up. The speakers were largely scientists and consumer groups, and the only baby food brands that spoke were Serenity Kids and Gerber. As a young startup just three years into business, we are proud to be participating in the legislative process and affecting real change for babies. Listen to a clip of Serenity’s speech here.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the scope of the FDA’s action plan, and we’ll continue showing up and speaking up to make sure words turn into action. 

As a baby food company run by parents—who actually feed our own products to our little ones—we know what’s actually inside each and every product.

The ingredients and their sourcing matter. Serenity Kids is committed to babies’ health and safety, first and foremost, over profits. In the absence of US regulations, we chose to follow European standards, which are among the strictest in the world, and are happy to say that Serenity Kids products fall below the European limits. 

Every baby food company should know where their products stand and continuously and constantly actively work to reduce their contaminants.

In 2018, Serenity Kids implemented a robust quality program to ensure lower levels of heavy metals in our products. Our key ingredients are tested before purchasing, we set internal limits, and we regularly test our finished pouches once produced. We utilize third-party testing and verification conducted in accredited labs and are one of the few pouched baby food brands and formula brands—and the only snackable puffs’ brandthat has received the Clean Label Project Purity Award, indicating our products are among the best for baby and toddler consumption.

Serenity Kids Supports Closer to Zero: Wants Lower Limits and Shorter Timeline

In our opinion, the FDA’s Closer to Zero proposal has heavy metal limits set too high (think inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury) and a timeline for a plan that expands well beyond 2024, which is too far away. We must put realistic steps into action ASAP to protect children, now. We will continue to advocate for strict, enforceable government regulations and standards to ensure all babies are safe and healthy.

Our CEO and Co-Founder, Serenity Carr, shared her thoughts on recent findings of heavy metals in baby food and spoke eloquently in favor of regulations to be put in place and even volunteered to cooperate with the FDA throughout their process. We will continue to stand tall and proud showing up to advocate for better standards for babies. 

“When I started Serenity Kids, I was surprised (and frankly disappointed) that there were so few regulations for baby foods. I completely support the FDA’s initiative to limit heavy metals in baby food and want them to do it way faster than their current proposed timeline. We’re not under pressure from shareholders or stockholders to keep cutting costs like some other big companies, so we choose to spend the extra money to have the lowest heavy metals levels in the industry. We truly believe from the bottom of our hearts that babies are small and vulnerable and should have access to the nation’s best food supply,” says Serenity Carr.

Serenity Kids truly believes parents have a right to know what’s in their babies’ food.

We aim to protect our country’s youngest, most vulnerable population and help provide access to the highest quality foods. We’re thrilled that the FDA is putting critical action in place to establish limits for all baby foods and support Closer to Zero as a step in the right direction. 

We are excited for this push for transparency and for clarity on safety standards.

Serenity Kids is proud to be one of the few baby food companies that are actively supporting and participating in the FDA’s process. As always, we truly believe Every Bite Counts® and stand behind our mission to create products that support little ones growing up to be nourished in health and happiness.

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