WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) announced that the House Appropriations Committee has approved more than $12 million in funding to support the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) efforts to remove toxins from baby food. The approval of this funding follows the Members’ introduction of legislation in March to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby food, educate parents about the risks, and invest in cutting edge farming technology to reduce any economic barriers to making baby food safe for consumption.

“It’s unacceptable that despite parents’ best efforts to keep their children safe, some leading baby food manufacturers have put products on the market that expose children to dangerous toxins. When these harmful products make their way onto our grocery store shelves, they put the health of countless children at risk. These additional resources for the FDA’s Closer to Zero program will be vital in protecting children, and I’ll keep fighting to give parents the peace of mind they deserve,” said Klobuchar. 

“My investigation earlier this year revealed that baby food companies are knowingly selling dangerously tainted products for our children, and this funding will help the FDA’s Closer to Zero Program end that practice,” said Krishnamoorthi. “Parents expect the food they see on store shelves for their children is safe, but unfortunately it hasn’t been. The House Appropriations Committee’s approval of this funding for current FDA initiatives is a major step in the right direction, and I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in this effort and our continuing work to further expand oversight through the Baby Food Safety Act.”

"It is unacceptable that many types of commonly sold baby and toddler food products contain harmful levels of toxic heavy metals that pose a risk to babies and their development, " said Duckworth. "I'm pleased that the House Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction on this issue has included funding for the FDA's Closer to Zero program, and as the Senate lead on this effort, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this vital program has the resources necessary to improve baby food safety quickly and safely.”

“No parent or caregiver should ever have to worry about whether the food they purchase contains toxic metals that would have a negative long-term impact on their child’s health. I thank the House Appropriations Committee for joining our efforts to reduce exposure to toxic elements in our children’s food,” said Cárdenas.

Healthy Babies Bright Futures, an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations, and donors working to create and support initiatives that measurably reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals in the first 1,000 days of development wrote of the news, “Including full funding for FDA’s Closer to Zero program in the Appropriations for the FDA will, in time, make baby food safer and give parents one less thing to worry about.”

In response to the introduction of the Members’ legislation, the Baby Food Safety Act, in April the FDA announced the “Closer to Zero” Campaign, which sets timelines for regulating toxic heavy metals in baby foods. The stated goal of the campaign is to reduce the levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods to “as low as possible.”

FDA has committed to issuing:

  • A draft action level for lead in baby and toddler food by April 2022, and a final lead action level by April 2024; 
  • A draft action level for arsenic in baby and toddler food by April 2024; and
  • Draft action levels for cadmium and mercury in infant and toddler food in the future. 

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