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March 26, 2021updated 06 May 2021 7:26am

US legislators table bill on new rules for metals in baby food

A trio of US lawmakers have introduced plans for fresh regulations on the presence of heavy metals in baby food.

By Dean Best

A trio of US lawmakers have introduced plans for fresh regulations on the presence of heavy metals in baby food.

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The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
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  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
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The bill, unveiled yesterday (25 March) and due to be formally tabled today, sets maximum levels on the amounts of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury allowed to be present in baby food. If passed, manufacturers would have a year to comply. The bill would require those new levels to be lowered further within two years through guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and again after three years through regulation.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, one of four US legislators set to table the bill, said: “For too long, industry has been allowed to self-regulate baby food safety, and the results have been appalling and extremely harmful to our kids. The Baby Food Safety Act will protect our little ones by setting strict limits on toxic heavy metals in baby foods.”

Last month, Krishnamoorthi issued a report asserting baby food on sale in the US is “tainted with dangerous levels” of arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead.

Under the proposed rules, baby food could contain no more than ten parts per billion of inorganic arsenic, or 15 parts per billion for cereal products for infants. The maximum amounts of lead and cadmium allowed would be five parts per billion for baby food and ten parts per billion for cereal products. No more than two parts per billion of mercury would be allowed in baby food and cereal.

A spokesperson for Nestle-owned Gerber, one of the baby-food companies operating in the US featured in Krishnamoorthi's report, said it was reviewing the proposed legislation and added: "We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with our nation's leaders and the FDA to make the food supply even safer for infants and toddlers.

"At Gerber, the health and nutrition of babies is our priority. We want to reassure parents that our foods are safe for baby. Heavy metals are naturally found in water and soil and can become a part of certain fruits, vegetables and grains as they grow. This is true whether a parent buys them in the grocery store or at their local farmer's market. Gerber takes many steps to reduce the levels of heavy metals in our foods including rotating crops according to best available science, and testing produce, water, ingredients and our foods throughout the process to ensure we are delivering on our promise to deliver high-quality and safe baby food. We remain committed to reducing the levels of heavy metals in our foods as low as possible."

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Free Report
img

What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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