US FDA seeks to limit arsenic content in baby food
Will you feed your baby arsenic? Apparently, people have been doing that for decades and the US Food and Drug Administration is only now seeking to limit the amount of inorganic arsenic found in infant rice cereal, the Wall Street Journal reported in an article dated April 1, 2016.
Inorganic arsenic is said to occur naturally but it can also come from the use of fertilizer and pesticides.
While arsenic occurs naturally and is present in air, water and land, the World Health Organization said it is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
The WHO said long term exposure to inorganic arsenic by ingesting contaminated drinking water and eating food prepared or irrigated with arsenic contaminated water can lead to arsenic poisoning.
According to the article, the FDA seems to be yielding to pressure from consumer groups as it had earlier recommended restrictions on the amount of arsenic in apple juice.
The FDA said exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause lower performance on some child development tests.
Under the proposal, the maximum level of inorganic arsenic that will be permitted in infant rice cereal will be at 100 parts per billion which the FDA said is comparable to the standards set by the European Commission on infant food and food for young children.
As of 2014, less than half of infant rice cereal sampled by the FDA from food retailers already met the proposed limits. The inorganic arsenic content in the food preparation can be lowered by finding rice and other raw materials with lower arsenic content.