Swedish researchers have found small amounts arsenic and other toxins found
in the soil in leading brands of baby foods like Organix, Hipp, Nestle and Holle.
However, manufacturers insist that these levels are so low that they do not
pose a health risk. Arsenic is associated with the development of cancer and
brain damage. Indiscriminate use of pesticides is responsible for the arsenic
contamination of crops. Other metals and toxins like arsenic, cadmium, lead and
uranium produced by heavy industry also find their way into the soil and food.
But scientists and food campaigners are
calling for efforts to eliminate the chemicals from these infant foods. They were
particularly concerned about the high concentration of arsenic in rice-based
foods as it is the most commonly used product for weaning. It was noted that
when children were fed with these weaning foods twice a day it increased their
exposure to arsenic twice as compared to that of breast milk. 2-years back when
two types of poison were detected in rice milk, the Britain's Food Standards
Agency (FSA) had issued an official warning that young children should stop drinking
rice milk because of arsenic contamination.
Researchers confirmed that none of the chemicals found were above the existing
safety limits. But the European Food Safety Authority and the FSA will soon set
new limits for arsenic in baby foods. British Specialist Nutrition Association,
the trade body for baby food called for careful selection of the ingredients of
baby foods to ensure lowest possible occurrence of these toxic elements.