A California non-profit, Environmental Law Foundation, sent some baby and kids’ fruit juice and products to a government approved lab for toxic substance testing. Guess what they found?
A surprisingly large number of samples, from both from national and store brands, contained lead above a maximum allowed level of 0.5 microgram per serving.
398 samples from 146 different brands were tested. Products tested were apple and grape juice, packaged pears and peaches, and fruit cocktail.
Brands that tested positive for lead include Beech-nut, Gerber, Earth’s Best Organics, Dole, Del-Monte, Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s Certified Organic, and others. A full list is here [PDF].
What you need to know:
According to ELF’s press release [PDF]:
Scientists agree that there is no safe level of exposure to lead. Lead accumulates in
the body from multiple exposures over time and from multiple sources. According
to Dr. Callahan, “Lead exposure among children is a particular concern because
their developing bodies absorb lead at a higher rate and because children are
particularly sensitive to lead’s toxic effects, including decreased I.Q.” Lead
exposure also represents a heightened risk among pregnant and nursing women
because lead passes from the mother to the developing fetus or infant.
The problem is, nobody’s quite sure where the lead is coming from. Is it present in the fruit itself, or added unintentionally somewhere along the manufacturing process? Organic and conventional brands were equally hit.
ELF has sent notices to all the manufacturers. Let’s wait and see what they say.
According to NPR, the FDA would not comment on the foundation’s findings, though a spokesman confirmed that the federal limits for lead were last updated nearly two decades ago. In the meantime, many scientists, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, now say that there is no safe level of exposure to lead.
What to do at the supermarket:
We recommend no fruit juice for many other reasons beside this lead discovery. Kids should drink water. Fruit should be consumed closest to its natural form. While packaged fruit products do provide some benefits, they are often jacked up with added sugar. Kids don’t need it.