April 09, 2021

Bicameral Lawmakers Issue Statements After Prompting FDA’s Creation of “Closer to Zero” Campaign


FDA’s Campaign is Historic Commitment to Baby Food Safety Standards

[WASHINGTON, D.C.]— Today, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08),  and the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Senator Amy Klobuchar, issued the following statements after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the “Closer to Zero” Campaign, setting timelines for regulating toxic heavy metals in baby foods:

“Parents deserve to have peace of mind that the baby and toddler food they purchase is safe and nutritious,” said Senator Duckworth. “Reports that many types of commonly sold baby and toddler food products may contain levels of harmful metals that pose potential risk to babies, such as arsenic and lead, are deeply troubling. I’m pleased to see that FDA is taking this initial step in addressing the concerns of parents across the country, but we still have more work to do. I look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration and my colleagues in Congress in making sure baby food is safe and nutritious.”

“Today, in response to our investigation, FDA took a crucial step toward removing the risk of harm from high levels of toxic heavy metals found in baby food,” said Subcommittee Chairman Krishnamoorthi.  “I will work hand-in-hand with FDA to ensure that it has the resources needed to move up the lengthy timelines outlined in the campaign.  I will continue to work to ensure that FDA sets toxic heavy metal limits at levels that are protective of babies’ brain development, not at the levels easiest for industry to achieve.”

“I introduced legislation to reduce toxins in baby food with Representative Krishnamoorthi because I refuse to settle when it comes to the health and safety of our children,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “I am glad the FDA heard our concerns and the concerns of parents across the country and committed to putting better food safety standards in place. I will continue to push them to work as quickly as possible to implement these reforms.”

Today’s announcement comes just two months after the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy published its troubling findings of widespread baby food contamination.  The stated goal of the  “Closer to Zero” campaign is to reduce the levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods to “as low as possible.” For the first time, FDA has set timelines for when it will issue baby food safety regulations. 

FDA has committed to issuing:

  • A draft action level for lead in baby and toddler food by April 2022, and a final lead action level by April 2024;
  • A draft action level for arsenic in baby and toddler food by April 2024;
  • Draft action levels for cadmium and mercury in infant and toddler food in the future.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tony Cárdenas along with Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Amy Klobuchar introduced the bicameral “Baby Food Safety Act of 2021” last month.