Following a wave of lead-spiked applesauce pouches, FDA urges Congress to enforce mandatory testing

There is currently no similar required testing in place

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published April 18, 2024 11:35AM (EDT)

Baby girl eating apple sauce from pouch (Getty Images/Cavan Images)
Baby girl eating apple sauce from pouch (Getty Images/Cavan Images)

Following a wave of reports of lead-contaminated applesauce pouches last fall, the head of the FDA, Dr. Robert Califf, is urging Congress to pass legislation that would mandate that food manufacturers test for lead in products imported into the country, as reported by Berkeley Lovelace Jr. of NBC News. Currently, there is no such mandate for testing, nor does the FDA "currently set limits on heavy metals in most foods," further exacerbating the issue. 

Many of the pouches, which were marketed as children's food, identified as containing lead last year were produced in Ecuador, with some reports noting that the contamination may have been intentional. According to NBC News, "due to budget limitations, the agency often has to rely on the food manufacturers themselves to do their own testing," however, those measures obviously weren't thorough enough to keep the lead-packed products from hitting supermarket shelves. 

This isn't the only recent instance of consumer advocates raising the flag over lead levels in children's food. Recently, Consumer Reports released guidance to the USDA suggesting they remove Lunchables, which reportedly contain "higher levels of sodium" and "high levels of lead," from the National School Lunch program. As Salon Food reported, The US Department of Agriculture currently permits two Lunchable kits, Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Stackers and Extra Cheesy Pizza, to be served to nearly 30 million children through the program. 




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