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California Bill Requiring Baby Food Manufacturers to Test Their Product for Toxic Heavy Metals Signed Into Law

For immediate release:

Torrance, CA – Assembly Bill 899, which will help protect babies by requiring baby food manufacturers to test their products for toxic heavy metals, was signed into law today by Governor Gavin Newsom. This new law will, starting on January 1, 2025, require representative samples of baby food products sold, manufactured, or delivered in California to be tested for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury and requires those test results to be posted on the manufacturer's website.

This first-in-the-nation legislation enacts recommendations by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. In their 2021 report on toxic heavy metals in baby foods, the Subcommittee found that "commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior. Toxic heavy metals endanger infant neurological development and long-term brain function."

"This new law will help protect babies by requiring baby food manufacturers to test their products for toxic heavy metals and post test results on their websites," stated Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, the bill's author. "By requiring this testing and reporting in California, the biggest consumer market in the nation, baby food manufacturers across the United States will hopefully take greater action to ensure their products are free of toxic heavy metals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should follow California's lead in enacting similar national testing and reporting requirements."

"This law fills two critical gaps in FDA's efforts to reduce children's dietary exposure to cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic to as low as possible while maintaining access to nutritious foods," said Tom Neltner, Senior Director for Safer Chemicals at the Environmental Defense Fund. "FDA does not require final product testing or disclosure to consumers. By filling these gaps, California will provide parents and guardians with important information they need to compare products and make purchasing decisions. We applaud Assemblymember Muratsuchi's leadership on this bill, and appreciate Governor Newsom signing it into law."

"The last thing parents should expect to find in baby food are toxic heavy metals that can pose a threat to their child's health and well-being," said Brian Ronholm, Director of Food Policy at Consumer Reports. "By requiring baby food companies to test their products and post the results online, this new law will compel them to reduce levels of dangerous heavy metals in their products and provide assurances to parents that their baby food products are safe. Consumer Reports commends Assemblymember Muratsuchi for his work in getting this important legislation passed and signed into law."

"No one should have to worry about toxic metals in baby food," said Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "AB 899 will transform the baby food market by requiring testing and disclosure of toxic metals like lead and arsenic. We applaud Assemblymember Muratsuchi for making the safety of baby food a priority. Once again, all of us have California to thank for keeping our families safe."

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi represents California's 66th Assembly District, which includes El Segundo, Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, San Pedro and Torrance. Muratsuchi is Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, Chair of the Select Committee on Aerospace, and a member of the Committees on Budget, Budget Subcommittee on Education Funding, Military and Veterans Affairs, Natural Resources, Utilities and Energy, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies.

CONTACT: Kerry Jacob, 310-806-0893