FDA draft guidance establishes lead levels for baby food
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance on January 24 proposing maximum levels of lead in processed foods for babies and children under age 2.
The level is 10 parts per billion for fruits, vegetables (excluding single-ingredient root vegetables), mixes (including grain and meat-based mixes), yogurt, custard/puddings and single-ingredient meats. The level is 20 ppb for root vegetables (one ingredient) and dry baby cereal.
“The proposed action levels were announced today, along with our continued work with our state and federal partners, to identify mitigation strategies that will result in long-term, meaningful and sustainable reductions in exposure to this contaminant from foods.” said Robert M. Calif, MD, FDA Commissioner. “For those infants and young children who eat the foods included in today’s draft guidance, FDA estimates that these action levels could result in a 24% to 27% reduction in lead exposure from these foods. “
The FDA plans to host a webinar and provide an overview of the draft guidance.
“We are encouraged that the FDA has proposed these new standards, but clearly more needs to be done to limit exposure to toxic lead and protect infants and young children,” said Brian Ronholm, Food director of policy said consumer Reports, “The FDA should set stricter limits on so-called baby junk food – grain-based snacks such as puffs, rusks and wafers – because those foods typically contain the highest levels of lead.”
According to the FDA, lead is especially harmful to vulnerable populations, including infants, young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, and people with chronic health conditions. Exposure to lead can harm children’s health and development, especially the brain and nervous system.
Lead is present in the environment both as a natural occurrence and as a result of human activities. Acknowledging that it may not be possible to completely remove the elements from the food supply, the FDA said it expects the recommended action levels to allow manufacturers to implement agricultural and processing measures to reduce lead levels in food products. Will be the cause of
The FDA collected and analyzed 686 samples of processed foods for infants and young children from 2014 to 2020. All food categories had lead concentrations of less than 10 ppb except root vegetables, which had an average concentration of 11.6 ppb.
Electronic comments on the draft guidance may be made atwww.regulations.gov, Written comments may be sent to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with docket number FDA-2022-D-0278.