Fera Science Limited’s proficiency testing group, Fapas® is making a significant contribution to help the Baby Food Council (a coalition of companies and other interested parties), meet the challenge of reducing heavy metals in commercially produced infant food in the USA.
The Baby Food Council brings together commercial baby food manufacturers, campaign groups (Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, HBBF), non-governmental organisations (Environmental Defense Fund, EDF) and receives technical advice from bodies including the FDA and USDA.
Root vegetables, fruit, cereals and rice are common ingredients in infant food, and are highly susceptible to contamination coming from the soil they are grown in, both naturally and as a result of soil pollution. Surveys of infant foods recently carried out, have found a significant percentage of positives for the presence of heavy metals. The Council has set the goal of reducing the levels of heavy metals in commercially produced foods, using best-in-class management practice in order to minimise the risk of exposure to potentially harmful levels.
The first step is to try and ensure that measurement of the levels of heavy metals in these foods is accurate and reliable, and trusted by the potential stakeholders involved. In order to achieve this, the Baby Food Council (coordinated by EDF), wanted to work closely with a professional provider who could run a proficiency test for the laboratories performing heavy metal analysis in the low parts per billion range. The aim is to provide laboratories with a means of independently verifying their results. Although participation in the proficiency test is anonymous, labs will be encouraged to share their results with the Baby Food Council, for them to be considered for listing on the Council’s website.
Tom Neltner, Chemicals Policy Director of the EDF, stated “Fapas® has many years of experience in providing proficiency tests for heavy metals analysis, and we are pleased to be working with them in this important area of food safety”.