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Consumer Reports Finds High Lead Levels in Snacks for Young Children
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
  • Consumer Reports study found high lead levels in vegetable puffs made from cassava that are marketed as snacks for young children, with one puff containing more lead than any of the 80 baby foods the group has tested since 2017.
  • Reducing heavy metal contamination in foods for babies and young children is a priority for FDA, as we have previously reported. In January 2023, FDA released draft guidance on action levels for lead in baby foods as part of the Closer to Zero initiative, establishing action levels of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for fruits, vegetables, mixtures, yogurts, custards/puddings, and single ingredient meats; 20 ppb for root vegetables; and 20 ppb for dry infant cereals. The report urges FDA to also consider exposure to lead from baby snack foods.
  • Consumer Reports measures lead as a percentage of California’s maximum allowable dose level (MADL) of 0.5 µg/day, or 0.5 ppb. According to the study, Lesser Evil Lil’ Puffs Intergalactic Voyager Veggie Blend contained 112% of the MADL, and another flavor from the same brand contained 60% of the MADL. Serenity Kids Tomato & Herbs, Bone Broth flavor contained 53% of the MADL. 
  • Cassava is a root vegetable, and because lead occurs naturally in the soil, it can accumulate in a plant’s roots. Lead can be further concentrated when cassava is processed into flour for snack foods. This could also be the case for any root vegetable, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets.
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