Health Canada says U.S. baby food contamination report not a safety concern for Canada

Health Canada says toxic heavy metals found in baby products from U.S. manufacturers “do not pose a safety concern,” even though there are traces of lead.
Dylan Gibbons Montreal, QC

Health Canada says that the toxic heavy metals found in baby products from U.S. manufacturers “do not pose a safety concern,” despite a major investigation showing that nearly all infant foods tested contained traces of lead.

According to CTV News, it was shown that 95 percent of the 168 baby products tested contained lead, 73 percent contained arsenic, 75 percent contained cadmium and 32 percent contained mercury. One quarter of the foods tested contained all four of these heavy metals.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, Health Canada confirmed that similar rates of heavy metals are likely to be in baby foods sold in Canada, as Canada sells many of the same products.

“The available monitoring data indicate that levels of cadmium, lead, total mercury and perchlorate in foods sold in Canada, including those consumed by infants, do not pose a safety concern,” Health Canada wrote.

“Health Canada’s view, like that of other international authorities, is that concentrations of certain metals, such as arsenic and lead, in foods should be as low as possible.

“The department is working to ensure this,” the department continues. “If Health Canada identifies a potential health concern, the Government of Canada will take immediate and appropriate action to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, including infants and young children.”

Health Canada has put particular emphasis on testing and monitoring baby products containing rice, as the initial report from Healthy Babies Bright Futures found that “popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rice has the highest risk for arsenic due to the process of growing it in water which contributes to the absorption of the toxic chemical.

In the report, Healthy Babies pushed for more regulation and testing on all baby food products containing rice.

“Because inorganic arsenic in rice is a top source of neurodevelopmental risk for children, FDA should act immediately to establish a health-based limit for this chemical in infant rice cereal and other rice-based foods,” they write.

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Dylan Gibbons
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