‘The FDA has been absent without leave on this issue…’ Rep Raja Krishnamoorthi on heavy metals in baby food

Rep Krishnamoorthi (D-IL, chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on economic and consumer policy) told us that the Baby Food Safety Act – ​which sets ultra-low thresholds for lead, mercury, cadmium, and inorganic arsenic in baby food – has significant support in Congress.

I feel very good about the Act​ [which was introduced to Congress in March]. Speaker Pelosi endorsed it a couple months ago, and it has a lot of support in both the House and the Senate.Obviously, we have some other items that are coming up in September that are going to occupy a lot of bandwidth. But I expect that my office is going to make a big push on this once some of that other legislation gets addressed.”

‘We’re going to need some changes in the law’

Separately, Krishnamoorthi has also filed a request for the upcoming reconciliation bill to include $50m to research ‘agricultural methods of reducing toxic heavy metals in crops that are used to make baby food,’ he said.

“I think this ​[the $50m funding request – which is also part of the Baby Food Safety Act] can be pushed separately and I think there’s a chance that we may be able to get that done as part of the appropriations process, maybe through the agriculture appropriations process.

“But I think that with regard to the other issues ​[setting thresholds, requiring testing of finished foods, creating a public awareness campaign etc], we’re going to need some changes in the law and I think that there’s a lot of support for that.”

The Baby Food Safety Act

Under the Baby Food Safety Act, ​manufacturers of infant formula and baby foods for kids up to 36 months would be required to adhere to maximum levels of four heavy metals within a year of the act coming into effect:

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