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New California law requires baby food manufacturers to test for toxic heavy metals

Official Seal of the Office of Governor of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Governor Newsom signed a first-in-the-nation bill requiring baby food manufacturers to test their products for the presence of heavy metals into law on Wednesday.

"This new law will help protect babies by requiring baby food manufacturers to test their products for toxic heavy metals and post test results on their websites," stated Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. "By requiring this testing and reporting in California, the biggest consumer market in the nation, baby food manufacturers across the United States will hopefully take greater action to ensure their products are free of toxic heavy metals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should follow California's lead in enacting similar national testing and reporting requirements."   

Assembly Bill 899, authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, enacts requirements for baby food manufacturers to test representative samples of the food they sell for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury starting on Jan. 1, 2024.

"This law fills two critical gaps in FDA's efforts to reduce children's dietary exposure to cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic to as low as possible while maintaining access to nutritious foods," said Tom Neltner, Senior Director for Safer Chemicals at the Environmental Defense Fund. "FDA does not require final product testing or disclosure to consumers. By filling these gaps, California will provide parents and guardians with important information they need to compare products and make purchasing decisions. We applaud Assemblymember Muratsuchi's leadership on this bill, and appreciate Governor Newsom signing it into law."

The new law requires that after Jan. 1 of 2025, baby food manufacturers will be required to provide those test results to consumers on their websites.

"No one should have to worry about toxic metals in baby food," said Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "AB 899 will transform the baby food market by requiring testing and disclosure of toxic metals like lead and arsenic. We applaud Assemblymember Muratsuchi for making the safety of baby food a priority. Once again, all of us have California to thank for keeping our families safe."

Additionally, if a product was tested for a certain toxic element subject to an action level, regulatory limit, or tolerance established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the new law requires manufacturers to include on the product label a quick response (QR code) that links to the manufacturers website.

Article Topic Follows: California
baby food
baby health
consumer protection

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Andrew Gillies

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