This week, a new investigative report by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a children’s health advocacy group, revealed that there is still more work to do in eliminating contaminants of concern, including lead, arsenic, and cadmium, from infant and toddler food. As noted in the report, at least one of these toxic heavy metals was detected in 95 percent of the 168 baby food samples tested. The good news: earlier this year, leaders in the sector supported by academic, government, and NGO partners and advisors started working together on the issue via the pre-competitive Baby Food Council.

The Baby Food Council, established earlier this year by Cornell University and Environmental Defense Fund, has committed to reduce heavy metal contamination as low as reasonably achievable by identifying and spreading best supply chain management practices. In addition to Cornell and EDF, current Council members include five of the top companies in the $7 billion dollar U.S. baby food market – Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics), Gerber Products Company, The Hain Celestial Group (Earth’s Best), Happy Family Organics – and the aforementioned Healthy Babies, Bright Futures. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also serve as technical advisors. This diverse group of organizations presents a promising opportunity to reduce the presence of contaminants at scale.