Saturday, June 19, 2010

Unsafe Lead Levels in Baby Food, Juice Boxes, and MORE!

The Environmental Law Foundation tested 150 products marketed to children. 125 of the products were found to contain enough lead in a single serving to warrant a warning label. The products include ORGANIC and NON-ORGANIC products such as baby food, juice boxes, and packaged fruit (like fruit cocktail).

You can read the full story and see the list of products at Inhabitots.

Just another thing to add to the list of reason to avoid juice and packaged foods and make your own baby food.

I used Ruth Yaron's book Super Baby Food to learn how to make baby food for the boys. There is a wealth of information in Ruth Yaron's book. However, I disagree with her on some points and I combined her advice with information I found in the La Leche League book Whole Foods for Babies and Toddlers.

I happen to agree with the La Leche League (and my Mom, a former La Leche League chapter leader) that a breastfeeding mom needs to introduce solid foods around the age of six months is a need for iron. Ruth Yaron is a vegetarian so meats are not included on the nice list of what to introduce when that is included in the book.

Diabetes runs in my family, so I disagree with the earlier introduction of solids at 4 months and the introduction of commercial rice cereal as a first food because both increase a child's risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Even if you disagree with her on some minor points (as I obviously did) it is a great book. My favorite section is the one that lists virtually every imaginable food with a paragraph on how to best prepare and freeze each one. Making your own baby food is so easy and economical I am proud to say the boys never had even a bite of commercial baby food. You will need a substantial stock of ice cube trays! I highly recommend investing in some that have a lid. Makes the whole process much easier.

I still find myself making our family "baby food." I do a case of organic peaches every summer to use as flavorings for porridge and yogurt so we don't have to buy the icky pre-flavored stuff at the store. Sometimes I get lucky and my Mom will make us a couple of gallons of applesauce cubes.

Home of:The Ultimate Montessori Blog ListThe Ultimate Montessori Search BoxThe Ultimate Montessori Homemade Materials Collaboration


  1. I try to make most of my baby food, but I still find instances when I need the convenience of a prepackaged applesauce or a juice box! And for the baby, well, a jar of Gerber now and then has really helped me keep my sanity. It's just so upsetting that the food companies can't do things the right way.

  2. If you wait until 6 months to introduce food, baby food isn't necessary. Having little cubes of puree prepared can be a convenience, but you don't need to mush food for a baby who is actually ready for solids (barring medical concerns and disorders that affect the baby's ability to handle textures.)

  3. I love the idea of putting fruit puree in yogurt, I always shudder when giving my children the flavored kind with all the sugar and additives. Thanks so much for the great idea!

  4. How sad. Especially to see companies that claim things like "only the best" on the list.

    Ditto what Liz said. I followed the general idea outlined in the La Leche League book, and we skipped baby food with both boys. So much easier to just wait until they're ready and be able to feed them what we're eating. Actually, we did try a little baby food with Little Fish, because he was so eager to eat, but he just wasn't ready and would gag on it, so I gave up and waited a while. When I tried again, he still gagged on the puree, but when I tried something a little more solid, he did fine with it. It seems odd, but he is our big eater and can eat just about anything now. You'd be surprised at the kinds of bites he can take with only two teeth! (Beeper, on the hand, pretty much refused to chew until he was almost two.)

    I have seen lots of reasons not to start with rice cereal as a first food, especially at four months, yet it seems that's what most pediatricians still recommend. Our culture as a whole is just so misinformed and stuck in its ways, it seems, when it comes to babies.

  5. I learned the hard way that grains shouldn't be introduced first because our daughter had allergies to them. Good idea to keep making ice cube foods! I know JC would love them. I freeze soups that I make for her but it might be nice to add fruits that we get fresh and organic during the summer and save it for winter too!

  6. I am TOTALLY in agreement with what some are saying about waiting until 6 mo and mostly feeding them what you are eating. I did a lot of that, but still liked making larger batches of some things and freezing them using the ice cube method. I didn't necessarily puree everything...even bite-sized bits of broccoli can be frozen in an ice cube.

  7. Key thing is where the ingredients are from. If the company wont tell you its because they dont know! Frozen containers of pureed fruits and veges from China that are so called organic! Yeah right.
    This is why I started my business, I know the growers personally and its all from one country.... New Zealand... Always..

  8. I saw something similar in the news and it also made me think of the few organic items I buy in cans. I realized my healthier food is not as healthy as I thought. I am seeking alternatives such as the resources you posted in your blog. Thank you for the wonderful information.

  9. although I don't have any infants right now my freezer is full of squash, carrot, cauliflower, and beet puree. I add them to my baking, and regular meals to increase nutrition for the whole family. Jessica Seinfields "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook is a great inspiration for using purees in cooking.