Sen. Tammy Duckworth

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to limit the levels of harmful heavy metals allowed in commercial food for infants and toddlers. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, or other contaminants, if regularly consumed by babies through their food, can impact a child’s lifelong health and development. The Baby Food Safety Act of 2024 would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce scientifically established limits on heavy metals in commercial infant and toddler food. The bill would also increase standards for food manufacturer sampling and testing for contaminants in imported and domestic processed food and bring greater transparency to the rate of food facility inspections by the FDA in the U.S. and abroad.

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“All parents deserve to have confidence that the baby and toddler food they feed their children is safe and nutritious, but reports that many commonly sold products could contain harmful substances like lead that pose risks to our babies are deeply troubling,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to help introduce legislation alongside Senator Klobuchar to address this issue and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the FDA to make sure that what we feed our children will help them grow up safe and healthy.”

“Parents want what’s best for their children, and they deserve peace of mind knowing the food they purchase for their babies and toddlers is safe,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation will boost food safety standards and require more complete testing by manufacturers to prevent heavy metals from poisoning our kids.”

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The Baby Food Safety Act of 2024 would:

  • Raise standards for baby foods to protect infants and toddlers from toxic heavy metals (i.e., lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury) and other potential contaminants and mandates that baby food have no more than the maximum allowable limits for toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, as determined by FDA.

  • Set standards for sampling and testing of commercial food products for contaminants, including toxic heavy metals in baby food.

  • Strengthen the FDA’s ability to enforce higher safety standards for commercial baby food as well as imported food products.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate for keeping baby food safe. Last year, Duckworth, along with Klobuchar, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use the authority of the agency’s new Human Foods Program to swiftly address the high levels of toxic heavy metals in these cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches. They also previously called on the FDA to reduce high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food and help ensure that the baby food provided to our nation’s infants and young children is safe, and called on the FDA to provide better oversight and regulation of baby food.

In 2021, Duckworth and Klobuchar first introduced the Baby Food Safety Act to strictly limit the levels of harmful heavy metals in baby food. This legislation — written in response to a House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy report showing that some baby foods are tainted with dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium — was aimed at holding manufacturers accountable for reducing harmful heavy metals in infant and toddler food.

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