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Being the health-conscious parent that you are, I'm sure you saw the article that was recently published, with a report stating that leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with high levels of toxic metals. And hello, we sure haven't forgotten about the article that was published in 2019 stating that 95% of baby foods contain toxic metals. This isn't something that any parent wants to hear.
These metals are naturally occurring in soil and water and are found at higher levels in fields polluted by pesticides, contaminated fertilizer, airborne contaminants and industrial operations. Food crops uptake these metals naturally.
The amounts of heavy metals in baby food are also increased when commercial baby food manufacturers add other ingredients to the food (enzymes, preservatives, vitamin, mineral mixes that are heavily tainted with metals).
You can’t rely on organic either. A 2012 study found that brown rice syrup, a frequent sweetener in organic foods, was also a source of significant levels of arsenic. One “organic” milk formula marketed to toddlers had levels of inorganic arsenic that were six times the levels currently considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot shop your way out of these metals. They are so common in the environment that crops pick them up in the fields. They are found in many fruits and veggies in the produce section, even in the organic section. Going organic only helps with pesticides exposure.
All of these heavy metals have been linked to cancer, chronic disease and neurotoxic effects, but it's the devastating damage that can be done to a developing baby's brain that makes baby food toxicity so critical.
From the time of conception through the age of 2, babies have an extremely high sensitivity to neurotoxic chemicals, said Jane Houlihan, the national director of science and health for Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a coalition of advocates committed to reducing babies' exposures to neurotoxic chemicals.
"Their brain is forming rapidly, and so when they're exposed to metals that can interrupt those natural processes, the impacts range from behavioral problems to aggression to IQ loss and all kinds of cognitive and behavioral deficits that can persist throughout life," Houlihan said.
"Pound for pound, babies get the highest dose of these heavy metals compared to other parts of the population," she said. "So the consequences are serious."
Our food is handmade fresh in small batches weekly from fresh fruits and vegetables. We never use metal machinery coated in brass, bronze or plastic that can expel toxins into your baby’s food.
Our ingredients are sourced from our supplier that has extremely high safety standards and protocols in place. When the produce arrives to our kitchen, it is safely stored in our refrigerator until it is placed in our steamers, pureed, and then frozen without any chemicals, additives or preservatives. When we freeze it, it's called Nature's Pause Button that seals in all of the nutrients your baby deserves, without all of the extras that commercial baby food manufacturers put it their food.
There are ways that we can help reduce Baby's risk of being exposed to these metals. Some vegetables that were found to be high in metals are carrots and sweet potatoes. These metals are found in the skins. We peel our carrots and do not use the skin in the sweet potatoes, instead scooping out the yummy insides.
Another thing you can do to help is by adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to Baby’s diet and serve these two less frequently. Variety is important to develop Baby's palette. This is why Café Baby offers over 50 different purée flavors and combinations to help you in developing that precious palette.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures made a helpful chart of other foods to consider in adding variety to Baby's diet.
We as parents, can choose to act. We know that no amount of heavy metals are safe for our babies BUT, less is better. We can lower our babies' exposure to the metals by offering a better variety of foods and by following the guidelines in the chart above. By doing so, we can offer safer foods that contain 80% less arsenic, lead and other toxic heavy metals. The testing performed by Healthy Babies Bright Futures show that most metals that were found are at low levels and by themselves in any given food raise little concern - it's the daily exposure that drive the urgency to our actions as parents.