I am going to try and make my own baby food. Since my little munchkin is only 4 months right now, I don’t have too much to write about this. That said, when I was researching EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” (see the post on Organic Foods), I learned a bit about pesticides in baby food….
Pesticides in Baby Food
(This is a straight cut & paste job from EWG’s Executive Summary.)
The USDA’s most recent pesticide monitoring data included hundreds of samples of applesauce, carrots, peaches and peas packaged as baby food (USDA 2014). Because cooking reduces levels of pesticides and baby food is cooked before packaging, it tends to contain lower pesticide residues than comparable raw produce.
The European Commission has set an across-the-board limit of no more than 0.01 parts per million of any pesticide in baby food, based on the fact that infants’ greater vulnerability to harmful chemicals, compared to older children and adults (European Commission 2006). Some samples of American baby food, particularly applesauce and peaches in baby food tested in 2012 and green beans tested in previous years, exceed the 0.01 legal limit. In contrast to the EU’s position, the U.S. has no special rules for pesticide residues in baby food.
The USDA detected 10 different pesticides on at least 5 percent of 777 samples of peach baby food sold in the U.S (USDA 2014). Nearly a third of the peach baby food samples would violate the European guideline for pesticides in baby food because they contain one or several pesticides at concentrations of 0.01 part per million or higher.
The USDA tested 396 baby food applesauce samples for five pesticides (USDA 2014). Some 18 percent of the samples contained acetamiprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide that EC regulators singled out for additional toxicity testing because it might disrupt the developing nervous system (EFSA 2013). Another 17 percent of the samples contained carbendiazim, a fungicide.
The USDA found six pesticides in apple juice, a staple of many children’s diets (USDA 2014). About 14 percent of the apple juice samples contained DPA, the pesticide banned in Europe in 2012.
USDA tests did not detect significant pesticide residues on carrots and peas packaged as baby food.