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Baby Mum-Mum Recall 2021: What You Need To Know

Updated on 12 October 2021 • 12 minute read
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Overview

Did you know that there might be plenty of toxic chemicals in your baby’s food, but popular name brands and baby food manufacturers are getting away with selling these tainted items to you? (1)

Two Congressional baby food safety reports in February and September 2021 detailed how several name brands knowingly released various baby food products with dangerously high heavy metal content: (1)(2)

  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
  • Nurture, Inc. (Happy Family Organics, HappyBABY Organics, and HappyTOTS)
  • Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic)
  • Gerber
  • Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics)
  • Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)
  • Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice)

 

Instead of correcting their toxic chemical content, these baby food manufacturers created internal standards and policies to increase the maximum levels to several times higher than the government regulations, the Congressional Reports revealed. (1)(2)

So, their baby food products passed internal standards but actually failed the federal standards. (1)

But this isn’t the first time that baby food companies are being called out for their toxic content.

A comprehensive study conducted by HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures) in 2019 showed that as much as 95% of baby foods from 61 different brands sold in the US might contain high levels of these toxic heavy metals. (3)

In 2018, Consumer Reports independently tested packaged foods made for babies and toddlers, including most of the name brands in the Congressional Reports and these manufacturers: (4)

  • Baby Mum-Mum
  • Earth’s Best
  • Ella’s Kitchen

 

What’s alarming is that all the tested products have measurable levels of at least one heavy metal (cadmium, inorganic arsenic, or lead). (4)

Consumer Reports also discovered that at least fifteen of these baby foods may pose potential health risks, even if eaten just once daily. (4)

So, did these popular baby food manufacturers issue a recall on these products? Are there any Baby Mum-Mum recalls? Find out more below.

 

Healthy Babies Bright Futures Comprehensive Food Safety Test

In 2019, HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures) commissioned tests of 168 baby foods from 61 niche and name brands for arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury levels. (3)

The tests showed that 95% of baby foods contain high levels of toxic heavy metals: (3)

  • Arsenic: 73% of tested baby foods
  • Lead: 94% of tested baby foods
  • Cadmium: 75% of tested baby foods
  • Mercury: 32% of tested baby foods

 

Also, as much as 26% of these baby foods contain all four toxic chemicals in a single container.  (3)

Citing studies that showed the negative effects of exposure to heavy metals, HBBF urged all baby food companies to establish a goal of having no measurable amounts of inorganic arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in baby and children’s food. (3)

The companies should accomplish these goals despite the absence of a known safe level of heavy metal exposure, HBBF added. (3)

 

Baby Mum-Mum in HBBF Study

Baby Mum-Mum Banana Rice Rusks (snack-type – teething biscuits & rice rusks/cakes) test results in the HBBF study: (3)

  • Total arsenic: 104 ppb
  • Inorganic arsenic: 53 ppb
  • Lead: 5.2 ppb
  • Cadmium: 2.3 ppb
  • Mercury: 1.72 ppb

 

In response, Baby Mum-Mum released the following public statement: (5)

A recent third-party report questioned the content of arsenic and other heavy metals in several baby food products on the market. At Baby Mum-Mum, we are parents ourselves so we share your concerns about quality and safety. 

Our company has been making rice crackers for over 35 years and one of our hallmarks is that we always source the highest quality rice and cleanest ingredients we can find. Some contaminants, such as arsenic, are naturally present on the air, water, and soil, and cannot be removed during the food process. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets strict levels as to what is safe, while also understanding that many of these contaminants exist naturally and cannot be removed. Baby Mum-Mum meets, and exceeds, all FDA guidelines. 

As standard procedure, we regularly test our products to ensure compliance with all FDA regulations, including those pertaining to arsenic, lead, and heavy metals, and constantly look for ways to minimize these occurrences.

 

Consumer Reports Food Safety Test

Consumer Reports expressed concern over the heavy metal content in baby foods, especially because babies and toddlers are small and still have developing brains and organs. (4)

It can make them more susceptible to developmental problems and possible organ damage because they may absorb more heavy metals than adult bodies. (4)

So, Consumer Reportsfood safety team tested 50 nationally distributed packaged baby foods for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The results were troubling: (4)

  • About 68% of the tested baby foods have high levels of at least one heavy metal.
  • At least 15 foods have potential health risks if eaten daily
  • Products with rice or sweet potatoes are more likely to have higher toxic metal levels
  • Organic foods can have as much heavy metal content as conventional baby foods

 

Although the results are troubling, Consumer Reports explained that consuming these foods doesn’t always mean a child can get sick and develop health issues. (4)

But regular intake of these tainted foods can increase the risks, especially for children exposed to other heavy metal sources (example: contaminated water or lead paint). (4)

Based on Consumer Reports’ safety tests, these products were categorized to pose “more concern” and should be eaten in moderation, with the corresponding daily serving limits: (4)

  • Baby Mum-Mum Banana Rice Rusks (<3 servings)
  • Baby Mum-Mum Vegetable Rice Rusks (3 servings)
  • Beech-Nut Classics Sweet Potatoes (<0.5 serving)
  • Beech-Nut Complete Rice Single Grain Baby Cereal (<3 servings)
  • Beech-Nut Complete Oatmeal Whole Grain Baby Cereal (<2.5 servings)
  • Beech-Nut Organic Oatmeal Whole Grain Baby Cereal (<2.5 servings)
  • Earth’s Best Organic Chicken & Brown Rice (<1 serving)
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars, Strawberry (<1 serving)
  • Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal (<2.5 servings)
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, 1st Stage (<0.5 serving)
  • Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal (<1 serving)
  • Gerber Turkey & Rice (<1 serving)
  • Gerber Lil’ Meals flavor White Turkey Stew With Rice and Vegetables (<0.5 serving)
  • Gerber Carrot, Pear & Blackberry (<1 serving)
  • Gerber Carrots Peas & Corn With Lil’ Bits (<1 serving)
  • Gerber Oatmeal Single Grain Cereal (<2.5 servings)
  • Gerber Organic Oatmeal Cereal (<2.5 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Arrowroot Cookies (<6 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Cinnamon Graham Animal Crackers (<4.5 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Banana Cookies (<4 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Waffle Wheels Puffed Grain Snack, Banana Cream (<3 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Lil’ Biscuits Vanilla Wheat (<2.5 servings)
  • Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars, Strawberry Banana (<1.5 servings)
  • Happy Baby Organics Organic Probiotic Baby Cereal (<3 servings)
  • Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Apple & Broccoli (<1 serving)
  • Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Purple Carrot & Blueberry (<1 serving)
  • Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Little Puffs Cereal Snack, Strawberry Apple (<1.5 servings)
  • Plum Organics Little Yums Organic Teething Wafers, Pumpkin & Banana (<5.5 servings)
  • Plum Organics flavor Just Sweet Potato Organic Baby Food (<1 serving)
  • Plum Organics Mighty Sticks Whole Grain Snacks, Berry Beet (<1.5 servings)
  • Sprout Organic Quinoa Puffs Baby Cereal Snack, Apple Kale (<1.5 servings)
  • Sprout Organic Baby Food flavor Garden Vegetables Brown Rice With Turkey (<1 serving)

 

Based on the same report, these products have low levels of heavy metals, were categorized to pose “less concern”, and can be consumed with no daily limits: (4)

  • Beech-Nut Classics Apple, Pear & Banana
  • Beech-Nut Naturals Carrot, Broccoli, Apple & Strawberry
  • Beech-Nut Organic Just Apple & Green Beans
  • Beech-Nut Organic Peas, Green Beans, and Avocado
  • Beech-Nut Quinoa Crispies, Vanilla
  • Ella’s Kitchen Apples + Strawberries Nibbly Fingers
  • Gerber Graduates Puffs Cereal Snack, Strawberry Apple
  • Gerber Lil’ Beanies Baked Snack Made With Beans, White Cheddar & Broccoli
  • Gerber Lil’ Crunchies Baked Corn Snack Mild Cheddar
  • Gerber Lil’ Crunchies Baked Corn Snack Vanilla Maple
  • Gerber Organic Puffs, Puffed Grain Snack, Apple
  • Gerber Lil’ Entrées Chicken & Brown Rice With Peas & Corn
  • Gerber Grabbers Strong Veggies, Broccoli, Carrot, Banana, Pineapple
  • Gerber Organic Peas, Carrots & Beets
  • Gerber Breakfast Buddies Hot Cereal With Real Fruit, Apple Cinnamon
  • Happy Baby Organics Purple Carrots, Bananas, Avocados & Quinoa

 

Baby Mum-Mum Recalls

Baby Mum-Mum and Toddler Mum-Mums are manufactured by Want-Want Foods in Shanghai, China. But their products have been widely distributed in the US and Canada for over 25 years. (6)

The brand offers gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO verified rice teething biscuits that can also be your baby’s first solid food. These teethers and baby snacks are also free of the most common allergens.

But based on tests conducted by Consumer Reports and HBBF, these Baby Mum-Mum products were flagged for their heavy metal content: (3)(4)

  • Baby Mum-Mum Banana Rice Rusks
  • Baby Mum-Mum Vegetable Rice Rusks

 

But to date, no recalls on Baby Mum-Mum rice rusks have been issued by the company or the FDA.

 

Baby Mum-Mum In Congressional Report On Baby Food Safety

Baby Mum-Mum is not included in the Congressional Reports.

 

First Subcommittee Congressional Report

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the US Congress released a detailed report in February 2021 on toxic products from popular baby food manufacturers. (1)

These name brands are well-known for their baby foods, yet all of them have dangerously high levels of toxic elements, particularly arsenic: (1)

  • Nurture, Inc. (Happy Family Organics, HappyBABY, and HappyTOTS)
  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
  • Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic)
  • Gerber
  • Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics)
  • Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)
  • Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice)

 

The Subcommittee expressed alarm that these companies knew their products contained dangerous levels of heavy metals, yet they didn’t correct these to meet government regulations. (1)

Instead, these companies increased their internal standards to higher maximum levels so their products could pass, according to the Subcommittee. (1) 

While the FDA’s inorganic arsenic limit for infant rice cereals is 100 ppb (parts per billion), these companies increased their limits to the following: (1)(7)

  • Beech-Nut (arsenic): 3,000 ppb
  • Nurture (arsenic): 115 ppb
  • Hain (arsenic): 200 ppb

 

The maximum limits for bottled water are as follows: (7)

  • 10 ppb inorganic arsenic
  • 5 ppb cadmium
  • 5 ppb lead

 

But these companies increased their internal standards to several times these limits: (1)

  • Beech-Nut (lead): 5,000 ppb
  • Beech-Nut (cadmium): 3,000 ppb
  • Hain (lead): 200 ppb
  • Hain (cadmium): 200 ppb

 

Nurture, Inc. (HappyBABY, HappyTOTS, And Happy Family Organics)

Nurture, Inc. submitted the following test results: (1)

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 100 ppb (over 25% of Nurture baby products)
  • Up to 160 ppb (flavor: Strawberry & Beet Puffs)
  • Up to 160 ppb (flavor: Banana & Pumpkin Puffs)
  • Up to 180 ppb (flavor: Apple & Broccoli Puffs)

 

Mercury:

  • Up to 9.8 ppb (flavor: Banana Sweet Potato)
  • Up to 10 ppb (flavor: Brown Rice Cereal Canister)

 

Lead:

  • Up to 10 ppb (flavor: Nurture vegetables and rice products)
  • Up to 560 ppb (flavor: Multi-Grain Cereal Canister)
  • Up to 641 ppb (flavor: Blueberry Purple Carrot)

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 5 ppb (around 65% of Nurture products)
  • Up to 36 ppb (flavor: Strawberry Raspberry)
  • Up to 49 ppb (flavor: Multi-Grain Cereal Canister)

 

Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics) Results

The Subcommittee said that Plum Organics refused to submit their internal policies or actual test results and insisted that their finished products “meet criteria.” (1)

So, the Subcommittee used these test results for Plum Organics Organic Baby Food (Just Sweet Potato) from the HBBF report: (3)

 

Mercury:

  • Less than 0.142 ppb

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 3.1 ppb

 

Lead:

  • Up to 5.6 ppb 

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 2.3 ppb

 

Plum Organics had the chance to submit their test results (from 2017 to 2019) for the second Congressional Report. But these results showed higher heavy metal content than the HBBF report: (2)(3)

  • Arsenic: More than 200 ppb arsenic for all Plum’s Super Puff rice-based products
  • Lead: More than 5 ppb lead for 54.5% of all Plum Organics products
  • Cadmium: More than 5 ppb cadmium for 38.3% of all Plum Organics products

 

Gerber Products Company

Gerber admits to only testing for heavy metal content in raw materials, not the finished products. (1)

 

Mercury:

  • No test for mercury.

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 90 ppb (raw ingredient: rice flour)

 

Lead:

  • Up to 48 ppb (raw ingredient:  sweet potatoes)

 

Cadmium:

  • More than 5 ppb in carrots (75% of raw ingredients)
  • Up to 87 ppb (raw ingredient: carrot)
  • No test for cadmium (for other ingredients or raw materials)

 

Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic)

Hain admits that it doesn’t test for heavy metal content but only makes “theoretical calculations” based on the raw ingredients’ results. (1)

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 309 ppb (for raw ingredients)
  • Up to 129 ppb (for finished products)

 

Mercury:

  • No test for mercury.

 

Lead:

  • Up to 352 ppb (for raw materials)

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 260 ppb (for ingredients)

 

Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice)

Walmart reportedly refused to submit internal standards or results. These results are from the HBBF report: (3)

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 108 ppb (flavor: Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks)
  • Up to 56.1 ppb (flavor: Little Hearts Strawberry Yogurt Cereal Snack)

 

Mercury:

  • Up to 2.05 ppb (flavor: Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks)
  • Up to 0.941 ppb (flavor: Little Hearts Strawberry Yogurt Cereal Snack)

 

Lead:

  • Up to 26.9 ppb (flavor: Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks)
  • Up to 5.2 ppb (flavor: Little Hearts Strawberry Yogurt Cereal Snack)

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 26.1 ppb (flavor: Little Hearts Strawberry Yogurt Cereal Snack)
  • Up to 2.4 ppb (flavor: Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks)

 

Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)

The company never responded to the Subcommittee. These test results for Organic Quinoa Puffs Baby Cereal Snack (flavor: Apple Kale) are from the HBBF report: (3)

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • Up to 107 ppb

 

Mercury:

  • Up to 1.31 ppb

 

Lead:

  • Up to 39.3 ppb

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 41.5 ppb

 

Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)

Beech-Nut declared that all raw materials passed internal standards. While that’s true, the company had actually set much higher maximum heavy metal limits than government regulations for similar foods. (1)

 

Mercury:

  • No test for mercury.

 

Inorganic Arsenic:

  • More than 300 ppb (in ingredients or additives used in various products)
  • Up to 913.4 ppb (in raw materials)

 

Lead:

  • Up to 886.9 ppb (in raw materials)

 

Cadmium:

  • Up to 344.55 ppb (in raw materials)

 

Second Congressional Report

In a follow-up report released in September 2021, the state of Alaska independently tested the baby food products from the report. Their results showed that products from these companies still contained dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic. (1)(2)

The second Congressional Report also expressed alarm that none of the baby food companies recalled the tainted products or notified the public of their heavy metal content. (2)

 

Baby Mum-Mum Lawsuit For Choking Hazard

In 2007, a couple sued a Shoppers Drug Mart in Regina, Canada, and product distributor Shoppers and National Importers after their 10-month-old daughter choked on a rice cookie. (8)

According to the lawsuit,  Lisa Scott and Ross Meyer bought two packs of Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusks from the Regina Shoppers Drug Mart. (8)

The couple alleged that the teething biscuit gelled and lodged in their child’s throat, causing her to lose consciousness. The incident sent the child into cardio-respiratory arrest, resulting in a brain injury that left her vegetative. (8)

Unfortunately, the child died 14 months later. (8)

Furious that their child died over a biscuit, the couple sued the store and the product distributor. They claimed that the companies should have warned consumers that this product was “inherently dangerous” to young children. (8)

The couple lost the case after failing to prove their allegations against these companies in court. But they maintained their stand against the companies, pushing for the package to at least have a warning. (8)

In light of the lawsuit, the company added the following warning on the package: “Always supervise your child during feeding.

 

Why Are Heavy Metals Dangerous?

Not all metals are dangerous to the human body. Some, such as iron and zinc, are essential for the body’s natural processes. But heavy metals like cadmium, inorganic arsenic, mercury (especially methylmercury), and lead can be toxic, with younger children at higher risk. (4)

Exposure to heavy metals, especially at an early age, may increase your child’s risks of developing several health problems, especially lower IQ and behavior problems. It has also been linked to autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). (4)(9)(10)

These negative effects of early exposure to heavy metals may have long-lasting, irreversible impacts on your child’s health and development. (4)

Consumer Reports warned that these heavy metals can remain in your child’s body for years, leading to increased risks of cognitive and reproductive problems, cancers (bladder, lung, and skin), type 2 diabetes, and other health issues. (4)

 

How Heavy Metals Get Into Food

While heavy metals are actually found naturally in the environment, the heavy metals in food may come from water or soil contaminated through pollution or certain farming practices, including the use of pesticides. (4)

Just as they absorb nutrients from soil and water, crops also absorb heavy metals and other toxins. (4)

But certain crops absorb more heavy metals compared with others. (4)

For example, rice can absorb as much as 10 times more arsenic compounds than other grains. It means that natural, unprocessed rice may have higher arsenic content that can remain even after processing into baby food. (4)

That’s why Consumer Reports pointed out that making baby food at home might not always reduce your child’s intake of heavy metals. (4)

Possible contamination can lead to increased heavy metal content in processed baby foods, especially those produced with machinery containing these types of metals. (4)

But other, still unknown processes might be contributing to the contamination because the following baby foods and fruit juices may have higher levels of lead than regular, unprocessed versions: (4)

  • Baby foods with carrots
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice

 

Reducing Heavy Metals in Baby Food Products

Noting that heavy metals can negatively affect children’s brain and body development, even in low concentrations, Consumer Reports and the US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) call for the passing of the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021. (11)

This law calls on the FDA to create and strictly implement better regulations with lower maximum heavy metal limits. 

It will also require baby food companies to test finished products, not just the ingredients. Plus, these test results should be shared with parents and regulatory agencies. (11)

 

Healthier Baby Food Products

The following baby food products may be healthier alternatives you can pick for your baby:

  • Little Journey Organics 
  • Once Upon A Farm 
  • Serenity Kids 
  • Little Spoon (subscription-based organic baby food)
  • Yumi (subscription-based organic baby food)

 

Preparing Healthier Alternatives At Home

To reduce the risks of feeding your baby with contaminated food, you can also opt to prepare your baby’s food at home. You’ll need a blender or food processor.

You can use the kitchen appliances you have at home, though you can opt to get a Baby Brezza Baby Food Maker Machine to help you prepare homemade baby food pouches.

The following are some of the fresh ingredients you can use to make baby foods at home: (4) 

  • Quality meats, poultry, or fish
  • Organic eggs 
  • Bone broth (from organic, grass-fed cows, if possible)
  • Whole or puréed fruits and vegetables (avocados, bananas, apples, peaches, strawberries, and grapes)
  • Healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee)
  • Raw yogurt
  • Coconut yogurt 
  • Quinoa 
  • Oats 
  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Yogurt

 

In preparing healthy baby food for your little one, avoid using rice or rice flour because these can have high levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium. (3)

But if you need or want to add rice to your child’s diet, avoid brown rice because it can have more inorganic arsenic content than white rice. Instead, sushi rice from the US and white basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan may be healthier alternatives. (4)

Carrots and sweet potatoes can also have high cadmium and lead levels, but they are important sources of vitamin A and other nutrients. (3)

You can also do the following:

  • Limit your baby’s intake of infant rice cereal
  • Limit packaged snacks and teething biscuits
  • Prepare rice in a larger amount of water (6 to 10 parts water to 1 part rice), then drain afterward to help reduce arsenic content
  • Avoid giving your child processed fruit juice
  • Avoid chocolates
  • Avoid fish with high mercury content: king mackerel, bigeye tuna, orange roughy, shark, and swordfish. 
  • Get your drinking water tested for heavy metal content.

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-02-04%20ECP%20Baby%20Food%20Staff%20Report.pdf

(2)  https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/ECP%20Second%20Baby%20Food%20Report%209.29.21%20FINAL.pdf

(3) https://www.healthybabyfood.org/sites/healthybabyfoods.org/files/2020-04/BabyFoodReport_ENGLISH_R6.pdf

(4) https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/

(5) https://mummums.com/pages/faq

(6) https://mummums.com/pages/about-us

(7) https://www.fda.gov/food/metals-and-your-food/arsenic-food-and-dietary-supplements

(8) https://www.law.com/almID/900005552995/

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23570911/

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4418502/

(11) https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/06/09/beech-nutbaby-food-recall-2021-rice-cereal-arsenic/7621243002/

 

 

 

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