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Baby food producers faced an environmental group in court Monday, April 8, 2013 to determine if baby food sold in California requires a label warning customers of low amounts of lead.
Saying there is no definitive data on lead in baby food, an environmental group is fighting to get warning labels put on bottles of some of the major producers.
At a hearing on Monday in Alameda County Superior Court, lawyers for consumers and the companies agreed that testing would need to happen to determine how much lead was in baby food before a decision is made.
The Environmental Law Foundation, a California-based consumer rights advocacy group, alleges that Gerber, Dole, Beech-Nut Nutrition and others, “knowingly and intentionally” exposed consumers to lead, according to a complaint filed in 2011.
The Environmental Law Foundation was behind Proposiotion 65, the "Right to Know" law, that required some locations to post signs notifying pregnant mothers of possible trace amounts of chemicals.
The news comes as data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that lead can cause “intellectual and behavioral deficits."
The data also said that “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”
The Food and Drug Administration said in 2010 that they found trace amounts of lead in baby food by some of the same companies named in the complaint but that it wasn't considered a health threat.
“There is no safe level of lead for children,” said lawyers for the Environmental Law Foundation in their complaint. “Unfortunately, children absorb lead into their bodies at higher rates than adults.”
The foundation alleges that the baby foods sold by the companies like sweet potatoes, carrots and peaches contain higher amounts of lead than allowed by the 1987.
Gerber and Dole Inc. declined to comment.