Nature’s One step-up efforts to cut arsenic levels in baby formula

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Baby food, Breastfeeding

Nature’s One step-up efforts to cut arsenic levels in baby formula
Organic infant formula manufacturer Nature’s One will step-up its efforts to minimise and eliminate the presence of environmental contaminants such as arsenic in its products.

The US-based firm’s “expanded purity initiative” ​aims to reduce the presence of contaminants known to be in the US food supply, including arsenic, other heavy metals, pesticide residues and hidden chemicals.

The efforts are part of the firm's zero tolerance arsenic goal.

The firm has built on an existing US Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic compliance process in an attempt to eliminate detectable arsenic in organic brown rice syrup using modern testing equipment and methodologies.

The company has also urged other infant formula and baby food manufacturers to follow its lead.

The announcement comes just months after Nature’s One attacked a report suggesting that arsenic levels in its toddler formulas were a cause for concern.

Identify and eliminate toxins

“Anymore, it is not enough to talk about what is added to a formula to make it beneficial,”​ said Nature’s One CEO Jay Highman.

“Instead, we need to talk about what is not in the formula or baby’s first foods. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals go undetected because they are not tested routinely, or are concealed under current labeling regulations.”

Nature’s One introduced its first organic formula in 1999 with the objective of eliminating the use of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, corn syrup, bisphenol-A and other contaminants.

“The company’s founding goal has always been to identify and eliminate toxins that may negatively impact human development,” ​added the firm’s CEO.

“Our purity initiative has no ending point; eliminating or minimising these toxins should be a goal for all companies who want to provide the very best in nutritional and development health.”

Cause for concern

Earlier this year Highman hit out at a report that suggested levels of arsenic in two of the firm’s toddler formula products were a cause for concern.

The February 2012 study, Arsenic, Organic Food, and Brown Rice Syrup,​ tested 17 samples of infant formula sold in the US, including two Nature’s One products, for levels of arsenic.

The 15 other formulas tested were found to contain relatively low arsenic concentrations of between two and 12ng per gram.

However, the two Nature’s One products were found to contain more than 20 times the concentration of the other tested products.

The report called into question the lack of regulatory limits surrounding the presence of arsenic in organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) in the US and the European Union (EU).

OBRS is used as a sweetener in organic foods and gluten free products such as infant formula.

There are currently no regulations applicable to inorganic arsenic in food in the US and the EU. Only China has a set regulatory limit at 150ng of inorganic arsenic per gram of rice.

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