By: Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) commends the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its announcement today that it will be taking additional steps to make sure that formula and food given to babies and young children is as safe as possible. We stand ready to partner with FDA in this much needed action.
“The AAP shares FDA’s goal of minimizing young children’s exposure to toxic metals in their food, and has long advocated for swift, sweeping action from federal leaders to do so. Today’s announcement by FDA is welcome news to pediatricians, but marks only the beginning of the comprehensive actions our government must take.
“Parents are already confronting unprecedented levels of stress and hardship due to the ongoing pandemic, and they need to be able to trust that the food they give their babies and young children is safe. The Academy recently updated our recommendations for parents to include the latest evidence, guiding families to give their young children a varied diet to reduce risk. We also do not recommend parents make their own infant formula.
“Comprehensive federal action is necessary to ensure that this responsibility does not only fall to parents. We need to engage both the federal government as well as the manufacturers of baby and toddler foods to achieve the goal of reducing exposure to toxic elements.
“Any federal actions to reduce toxic elements in baby and toddler foods need to include multiple voices at the table, including federal regulatory agencies, those who administer federal nutrition programs and parents and caregivers who participate in these programs. This engagement will also help to anticipate and prevent unintended consequences for federal nutrition programs, and ensure all families have equitable access to safe and nutritional foods.
“We urge FDA to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce the levels of toxic elements in baby and toddler foods, promote food safety, and promote transparency and trust for parents and caregivers. Exposure to toxic elements has a disproportionate effect on infants and toddlers because their brains are rapidly developing, especially during their first 1,000 days. There is no known safe level of exposure to these metals for children and we must work as hard and as fast as we can to reduce their risk.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.