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Consumer Reports calls on baby food companies to suspend sales of infant rice cereals, citing recent government test results and recalls

  • CR says companies should pause manufacturing until improved testing and standards in place
  • CR data show caregivers have plenty of alternatives in grains other than rice with much lower levels of arsenic



WASHINGTON, D.C — Consumer Reports is sending letters to five baby food companies to call on them to suspend the manufacturing and sale of infant rice cereal, citing the high levels of inorganic arsenic that continue to show up in these products. 

In letters to executives at Walmart, Gerber, Plum Organics, Happy Family Organics and Hain Celestial, CR says a suspension of the manufacturing and sale of infant rice cereal should be imposed and remain in effect “until a more protective health standard for inorganic arsenic is implemented through updated regulations or voluntary measures.” 

CR cites recent congressional reports on heavy metals in baby food from February and September 2021, and the June 2021 decision by the Beech-Nut Nutrition Company to discontinue the manufacture of baby rice cereals due to the arsenic issue. 

In addition to the company letters, CR is mobilizing people across the U.S. to sign petitions to ask the companies to stop making and selling infant rice cereals until protective health standards are imposed by industry or the federal government. The petition is now online at ConsumerReports.org/ricecereal

Brian Ronholm, Director of Food Policy for Consumer Reports, says: “These companies should follow the lead of Beech-Nut and suspend the manufacturing and sale of all infant rice cereals until a more protective health standard is in place.  Even low levels of inorganic arsenic can have adverse effects on cognitive development in young children. Infant rice cereal is responsible for more than half of all exposure to inorganic arsenic in infants and toddlers.  Removing these products from the market would be the most effective approach to address this issue and provide assurances to parents and caregivers.”

In the letters to companies, CR notes: “Rice is known to accumulate inorganic arsenic at a rate much higher than other grains. Although rice-based products make a significant portion of solid foods for infants and toddlers, other grains have been shown to have much lower levels of arsenic. Testing by Consumer Reports found that the grains amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and polenta or grits had negligible levels of inorganic arsenic. Bulgur, barley, and farro also had very little arsenic. Quinoa had average inorganic arsenic levels comparable to those of other alternative grains, and oats had  been identified as another option that is lower in inorganic arsenic. It is evident that removing infant rice cereal from a baby’s diet would not limit the availability of other options.”

CR is asking the companies for responses by November 5th.  To learn more, read the CR letters to companies and CR’s petition to the companies.


Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org


Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 85 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.