FDA Plans to Reduce Levels of Lead in Baby Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released draft guidelines recently that detail the maximum amount of lead that can be found in baby food products.  The FDA now has a “Closer to Zero ” initiative for reducing childhood exposure to harmful contaminants in food.

New FDA Guideline for Lead Levels in Baby Food:

The new guidelines which are not mandatory for food manufacturers, outlines the following amounts as being acceptable in baby food for children under the age of two:

  • 10 parts per billion, or ppb, for fruits, vegetables (excluding single-ingredient root vegetables), mixtures (including grain and meat-based mixtures), yogurts, custards/puddings, and single-ingredient meats;
  • 20 ppb for root vegetables (single ingredient); and
  • 20 ppb for dry infant cereals.


Researchers say that the FDA’s new plan does not come near enough to what is needed to protect children from lead exposure.

The FDA’s new regulations do not apply to teething biscuits, which studies have shown account for seven of the 10 highest lead levels in the more than 1,000 food tests conducted by independent organizations.

Additionally, the FDA plan does not set new guidelines or plans of reduction for other toxic chemicals found in baby food, such as cadmium, arsenic or mercury.

Lead is pervasive in the environment (and therefore in food and water) due to natural and human-made sources. Lead exposure has the potential to cause cognitive deficits in children.  Quoting from scientific research, the FDA states that prolonged exposure to lead may result in “learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, and lowered IQ,” in children, as well “immunological, cardiovascular, renal, and reproductive and/or developmental effects” in both children and adults. It has been determined there is no amount of lead exposure that is safe for babies and children.

Important Findings about Contaminants in Baby Food

-According to an analysis commissioned by an independent organization, children under two years of age in the U.S. lose over 11 million IQ points from exposure to heavy metals in food.

-In 2022, an HBBF study found that 94% of manufactured baby foods, family foods and homemade purees made from purchased raw foods contained detectable amounts of one or more heavy metals — lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.

Lead was also found in 90% of manufactured baby food, 80% of store-bought family food and homemade purees.


lead detected in baby food

See our other posts about contaminants in baby food:

Dangerous Levels of Toxic Heavy Metals Found in Baby Food: Report

High Levels of Toxins Found in More Baby Food: Government Report

Homemade Baby Food Contains as Many Heavy Metals as Commercial Brands

Toxic Chemicals in Baby Food Triggers State Lawsuit

Toxic Metals Found in Majority of Baby Food

Arsenic uncovered in Big Food brands of baby food

Lead Detected in Baby Food Samples

The Problem with Lead