We believe our babies’ growing brains and bodies deserve the best nutrient-dense foods per bite, which is why we pack our pouches with ethically sourced meats and organic vegetables. But the truth is that due to a long history of soil and water contamination, heavy metals are found throughout the food supply chain. If it grows in soil, it has some form of contaminants in it.
What Is the Effect of Heavy Metals and Why Do They Matter?
Studies have shown that exposure to high levels of chemicals or environmental contaminants, such as heavy metals, can cause developmental problems with learning, cognition, and behavior.
While metals such as iron or zinc are essential nutrients for a growing body, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, or mercury can be absorbed from the soil as food grows. Understanding the truth about metals in baby food and what types of sourcing and testing processes are in place can help us ensure our babies are growing up big and strong.
Where Are Potentially Heavy Metals in Baby Foods Found?
As the old saying goes, quality over quantity!
As of today, the FDA only regulates levels of some heavy metals for infant formulas and cereals, but steps are in place to establish limits for all baby foods. Serenity Kids is excited for this push for transparency and clarity on safety standards because it means better regulations for babies who can’t speak up yet themselves. We are one of the only baby food companies that is actively supporting and participating in the FDA’s process.
According to a 2019 study conducted by the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform, heavy metals in baby food such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium, were discovered in many major brands such as Earth’s Best, Gerber, Happy Baby, Beechnut, Plum Organics, and Sprout.
While most companies worked with the sub committee's request to provide further documentation, some companies withheld information, and others revealed that they rarely test at all.
Even to this day, heavy metals in baby food require no label or warning to parents. Corporations are free to conduct no testing at all in regards to metals in baby food.
Serenity Kids knows precisely how important it is to avoid heavy metals in baby food. After all, we feed them to our own babies! That is why our ingredients are tested before purchasing, we set internal limits, and we regularly test our finished pouches once produced. Lastly, we utilize third-party testing and verification conducted in accredited labs. We are one of the few pouched baby food brands and the only snackable puffs that have received the Clean Label Project Purity Award, indicating they are exceptionally low in environmental contaminants for baby and toddler consumption.
Clean Label Project purchases products from retailers and tests them at an accredited lab for over 200 different contaminants, including glyphosate, agrochemicals, plastics, lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, BPA/BPS, and many more. They determined that Serenity Kids products meet their highest standard.
Source of Heavy Metals in Baby Food
Metals in baby food aren’t always a bad thing. Our bodies need some metals such as iron, zinc, and potassium to work well, but other metals like lead and mercury can be harmful.
Metals are naturally occurring on our planet, leading to the absorption into the food and water we consume. When large corporations and manufacturers create baby food in mass quantities, it becomes more difficult to oversee and test.
Due to pollution and chemical farming, the levels of heavy metals in baby food rise unnaturally.
Another study in 2019 conducted by a nonprofit called Healthy Babies Bright Futures found that these big manufacturers contain baby food with 73% higher levels of arsenic and 94% higher levels of lead. It was also noted that their puffs and other rice flour-based snacks contain higher levels of arsenic than is usually considered safe.
Due to the astounding results of this study, the US Oversight & Reform Committee began developing a Baby Food Standard and Certification Program aimed at reducing heavy metals in baby foods. Their three objectives included reducing heavy metals in baby food products to as low as reasonably achievable, certifying baby food products with this newly adopted standard, and providing logos and supporting materials to those who achieved these goals.
When it comes to Serenity Kids, we make sure you know exactly where our baby food comes from. Buying from sustainable, eco-conscious farms and family-owned businesses gives us the ability to better track and reduce the levels of heavy metals in our products.
Because the FDA has not (yet) set standards for all US baby food products, we chose to follow European standards, which are among the strictest in the world. We are happy to say that our products fall well below the European limits.
How to Avoid Heavy Metals in Baby Food
We know that learning the best ways to lower your risk of consuming heavy metals in baby food is a daunting task.
The key is to buy from trusted brands that source from farms that prioritize quality and safety and commit to cleaner food. This is why sourcing from farms that practice regenerative agriculture is crucial to us as a baby food brand, and why we list our farmers on our website for everyone to see.
Plus, not only can farming education be informational and fun, but it teaches our children exactly where their food comes from.
We also recommend avoiding grain or rice-based foods marketed towards babies, as these crops tend to contain higher levels of arsenic. Read why we are gain-free here.
What Baby Food Brands Are Lower in Heavy Metals
Look for brands that have set standards in place and conduct regular testing. Serenity Kids is one of the best sources of nutrition due to our rigorous sourcing and testing policies. We make sure all those heavy metals that can affect their physical or mental development, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, fall below our internal limits.
At Serenity Kids, we carefully vet our suppliers to ensure we use the cleanest possible ingredients.
We use organic vegetables that come from trusted American-family farms that conduct testing on their own soil, have robust food safety programs, and undergo a rigorous SQF food safety audit. Meats are naturally lower in heavy metals, and we source ours from farms with the highest quality and environmental standards.
Additionally, our products are regularly tested by the Clean Label Project who has verified that our products are among the best in the industry. You can check their website for a list of other brands they have verified as well.
Knowing which baby foods test for heavy metals is vital to our baby's growing brains. That’s why you can put your trust in Serenity Kids. After all, we feed these products to our own kiddos.
Written by Kellyann Doyle. Kellyann is a contributing writer for Serenity Kids and a freelance copywriter. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2013 from the University of Houston with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Marketing. When she isn't chasing her 8 months old daughter around, you can find her trying new recipes, enjoying a good nap, or re-watching Friends for the 500th time.