- of The FDA has released draft new guidelines to help reduce lead levels in processed foods for children under the age of two.
- This initiative is part of a broader effort called “Closer to Zero” aimed at limiting heavy metals in food..
- The guidelines are open for comments until March 27th..
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical adviser and pediatric emergency physician at PM Pediatric Care, said the guidance is a welcome development even as the dangers of lead and other heavy metals are highly recognized in the field. .
“I think these are going to take a long time. [of situation]whether it’s paint or food, this makes a lot of sense and I’m glad it’s finally here,” Johns said.
Jorge E. Perez, Ph.D., a neonatologist and founder of KIDZ Medical Services in Florida, sees the guidance as a good first step, but said the FDA should have worded the guidelines more strongly. thinking.
“We thought we should push it a little harder than just recommending or suggesting that it should be an industry standard requirement,” says Perez.
The draft guidelines aim to reduce lead in processed foods by one part per billion (ppb for short). Specific ranges vary from 10 ppb for things like yogurt and fruit to 20 ppb for cereals and root vegetables. Derek McClellan, M.D., senior his medical director at Central Ohio Primary Care, says using this information to promote good nutrition is a good thing.
“Personally, especially in the world of pediatrics, I love nutrition because it not only lays the foundation for later health, but specifically in terms of lead, these early cumulative The effects are extremely detrimental to brain growth and development…so whenever we have the opportunity to limit chronic exposure through what we eat or drink, I think it’s a win.
The FDA says these guidelines could reduce lead exposure by as much as 24% to 27%.
Experts say there is no known safe level of lead and people need to be aware that lead can be introduced into food, such as from lead-containing soils.
The FDA said in a release that these guidelines are not intended to guide consumer food choices.
According to Perez, while it might seem logical to think of homemade baby food as a solution to these high levels of heavy metals, recent reports indicate levels present in grocery store products. We know that changing your cooking habits is not a problem for you. silver bullet.
“We need to educate people that we are not just talking about manufactured foods, we are also talking about homemade foods. Keep in mind that many of these produce also contain high levels of these heavy metals.
A report produced by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a group focused on reducing infant exposure to toxic chemicals, found elevated levels of heavy metals in 95% of the products tested. rice field.
McClellan says what we really need is more data to guide parents and caregivers in making safe choices.
“Sweet potatoes are known to contain more vitamin A than oranges. “I’m going to direct you to this food group as much as you know, or you know this fish tends to be high in mercury,” McClellan explained. “There can be health benefits from that food group as well, so it doesn’t mean you don’t eat it at all, but you do need to eat it in moderation and know there’s a balance.”
Johns says the advice her nutritionist colleagues give is to vary the types and brands of cereals you give your child to reduce the risk.
“Switching between them can reduce exposure in the same type of exposure. Because these products are manufactured and processed, trace metal elements are often introduced in small amounts into product formulations,” Johns said. said.