NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Beech-Nut Nutrition is exiting the baby rice cereal market in the wake of a voluntary recall of one of its products due to high arsenic levels.
“The safety of infants and children is Beech-Nut’s top priority,” said Jason Jacobs, Beech-nut vice president of Food Safety and Quality in a statement included in the Food and Drug Administration’s recall announcement.
The recall follows a routine sampling of Beech-Nut’s products in Alaska. The cereal tested above the FDA’s guidance level for naturally occurring inorganic arsenic, which is 100 parts per billion.
“Beech-Nut is concerned about the ability to consistently obtain rice flour well-below the FDA guidance level and Beech-Nut specifications for naturally occurring inorganic arsenic,” the FDA said.
The possibility of arsenic in baby food is not a new concern for parents. Earlier this year, U.S. congressional investigators found “dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals” in certain baby foods that could cause neurological damage.
Some baby food brands even declined to participate in that investigation, including Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods. Beech-Nut did participate in the investigation and said afterward that they were working with other companies “on science-based standards that food suppliers can implement across our industry.”
The recall is for one lot of Beech-Nut Stage 1, Single Grain Rice Cereal (UPC Code# 52200034705). It has an expiration date of 01MAY2022 and product codes: 103470XXXX and 093470XXXX. If you purchased this product, fill out the form on Beech-Nut’s website and someone from the company will contact you about replacement.
The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend limiting rice intake for babies, and Dr. Claire McCarthy with Havard Health Publishing shared a couple of tips for reducing children’s exposure to heavy metals:
- Give your child a wide variety of different foods
- Vary the grains they eat.
- Check your water. “Old pipes can contain lead, which can leach into drinking water,” McCarthy said.
- Avoid fruit juices, which may also contain heavy metals