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US finds cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic in baby products from a Nestlé subsidiary

By hollisterclothingoutlet 12/03/2023 526 Views

"Manufacturers knowingly sell tainted baby food to unsuspecting parents, despite company internal test results showing high levels of toxic heavy metals and no warning label at all." This is how forceful the US Congress has been after an exhaustive investigation into manufacturers of baby food, which includes the Chinese company Gerber, owned by Nestlé.

Nestlé has denied the accusations by the US Congress. As he has responded to questions from MERCA2, "Gerber foods are subjected to rigorous supervision at all levels of the cultivation and production process." "They comply with local and international regulations," he assured. "The safety and quality standards for these baby foods are industry-leading and among the strictest in the world," he said.

The US Congressional report targets Gerber directly for using ingredients contaminated with heavy metals in the manufacture of children's food. "The best baby foods are contaminated with dangerous levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury," the study states.

SERIOUS AND IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE

The 59-page dossier names up to 46 times the subsidiary of the Swiss company based in China, which distributes its products mainly in the US. In it, warns of the serious neurotoxic effects caused by the intake of these heavy metals, especially in children due to their early development. "Even low levels of exposure can cause serious and often irreversible damage to brain development," the House of Representatives notes in its conclusions.

In this regard, the report highlights that "manufacturers routinely ignore internal standards and continue to sell products with higher levels of heavy metals." And it indicates that "the most widespread practice is to hide the highest levels of toxic metals in baby food."

TOXIC METALS IN FLOUR AND CARROTS

US finds cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic in baby products from a Nestlé affiliate

As for companies, the congressional report points to Gerber, named 46 times for failing to disclose results on the presence of inorganic arsenic in all ingredients used. However, the analysis, carried out on batches dated between 2017 and 2019, shows high levels in the flour used to make their products, with 0.09 parts per million (ppm) in the case of inorganic arsenic. In addition, Gerber used at least five batches of rice flour with levels of 0.098 ppm of this heavy metal, while levels detected in other batches exceeded 0.09. Levels very close to the maximum allowed in drinking water in the US, 0.1 ppm.

Lead levels reported at Gerber were very high, at 0.048 ppm in some lots. On average, the lead used in their products was 20 ppm. 65% of the carrots contained an excess of 0.05 ppm in cadmium with respect to the authorized levels, and in some cases up to 87 ppm have been detected. The report details that "mercury levels were rarely measured" in the products of the company controlled by Nestlé.

ABSENCE OF INTERNAL TESTS TO CONTROL THE LEVEL OF TOXICS

According to the tests carried out, the sweet potatoes and juices contained “dangerous” levels of lead, with levels of 0.048 ppm, and batches of 0.02 ppm, higher than allowed.

Together with the Nestlé subsidiary, baby products from three other companies, Nurture, Beech-Nut and Hain, have been analysed. "All four companies sold products or used ingredients with significant amounts of lead," the report highlights, levels that could be detected with a simple routine test.

To congressional investigators, Hain, Beech-Nut and Gerber did not test their finished products, just their ingredients. "Every company, whether testing their final products or just their ingredients, was selling baby food even when it or its ingredients contained" dangerous levels of lead.

The dossier notes that the four societies cooperated during the investigation "despite the fact that doing so revealed their reckless disregard for the health of babies."

RATES ABOVE THOSE ALLOWED

Nurture (HappyBABY), for its part, put on sale finished products for consumption aimed at babies with up to 0.641 ppm of lead, six times higher than the internal limits tolerated . Five other products were tested for up to 50 ppm of this heavy metal; and in another 16, 0.02 ppm. Levels above the "most lenient standards." In 18.9% of the total products, the levels exceeded 0.01 ppm, the maximum allowed for this metal according to health experts from Consumer Reports, the Environmental Defense Fund and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Levels detected at Beech-Nut were as high as 0.8869 ppm lead. At least 483 ingredients used contained more than 0.05 ppm of this heavy metal, while another 89 tripled this dose and another 57 quadrupled it.

In Hain, the levels stood at 0.352 ppm in the ingredients used for food intended for children and babies. In 88 raw materials, the tests showed rates of 0.02 ppm, and in six of them, 0.2.

NO COLLABORATION WITH LARGE RETAILERS

Large supermarkets that sell their own baby products, such as Walmart, Sprout Organic Foods and Campbell's, have refused to cooperate with this investigation, according to the report. None of them disclosed results of their internal tests or disclosed their own internal controls for these types of products.

Sprout also avoided answering repeated questions from Congress, raising concerns about an attempt to "hide the presence of toxic levels of heavy metals in its baby food products than its competitors' products."

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