Looking to protect your little veggie? H.J. Heinz Co has been forced to recall one of its infant food products in eastern China after it was found that the quantity of lead in the product was over the acceptable limit.
The specific product in question is Heinz’s AD Calcium Hi-Protein Cereal. Food safety regulators in the Zhejiang province had discovered what they called 'excessive amounts of lead' in the product. Four batches of the cereal were pulled off the shelves.
However, no other products were said to have been affected.
Since the incident, Heinz has apologized to its customers and assured them that the company is completely committed to ensuring food safety and quality.
The reason why lead is so dangerous to children is that it can decrease their physical and intellectual growth. Some symptoms relating to lead exposure include difficulty concentrating, disruptive behavior, and shockingly even death.
This story is scary, not just because of the amounts of lead not being regulated but the fact that there is lead in infant products at all! This isn’t the first time that lead has been found in alarming amounts. Last year, in a consumer study in the U.S. that was conducted by the Environmental Law Foundation, it was found that three-quarters of baby foods contained lead. Back in 2010, statistics from the San Diego County Lead Prevention Program discovered that over three per cent of children who had been tested for lead had elevated levels in their bodies.
The problem is that some old food processing equipment can cause lead to leak into packaged foods. Then there are also the environmental concerns: lead in paint and pesticides can also end up in food supplies.
- How Can You Protect Your Kids?
Your children can be exposed to lead in various ways. Make sure that you use lead-free paint in your home. Sometimes children end up wanting to eat things like dirt or clay, which can result in them being exposed to lead. Tap water can contain lead, so always make sure you run the cold water for a few minutes to flush out the pipes before you use it. In food, lead can be present in the actual food content or its packaging. Make sure you store food in containers that are made of glass instead of cans. Feed your children a diet that is high in calcium and iron as these can help to lower the absorption of lead.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.