Most babies are ready for solid food after six months old, depending on your child’s development. One of the most established and reputable jar foods is Gerber. We’ve all used it more than once for our babies. After research about baby food, we’ve come up with a Gerber Organic Baby Food Review.
Homemade food is time-consuming, but it can’t be stored for a long time, while food from the jar includes preservatives and sometimes may include contaminants. Choosing between homemade food or from the jar is one of the dilemmas for parents. Both have their pros and cons.
A recent 2021 report by a House Oversight Subcommittee has revealed that some commercial baby food was tainted with a significant level of heavy metal. Findings from an investigation that was conducted based on laboratory testing results and reviews of internal documents claim that major baby foods like Gerber were being sold with high levels of toxic heavy metals. These harmful metals are well known to cause health complications and neurologic damage in developing children. The development of conditions such as ADHD and autism may be linked to the consumption of these toxic baby foods.
About the Gerber Company
Gerber is the biggest baby food manufacturer in the world. The company was founded in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan, by businessmen Daniel Frank Gerber who was also running produced canned fruit and vegetables. When they had their baby, Sally realized the time spent making baby food and saw the business opportunity.
The rest was history as decades later, they were sold to Nestle for $5.5 billion and now has 190 products sold in 80 countries. In the USA, Gerber got 61% of the baby food market. Gerber also started selling breastfeeding supplies, vitamin drops, pacifiers, baby milk bottles, and small baby toys.
Interesting Fact: Do you know that the baby you find in Gerber products is already 94 years old? Ann Turner Cook is the daughter of cartoonist Leslie Turner. When Gerber announced in 1928 that they are looking for baby images, Dorotthy submitted her daughter’s drawn face and was eventually chosen.
You can easily find Gerber products in every supermarket selling baby food. Gerber baby organic food is often in glass jars and pouches.
There are other organic baby foods on the market. There’s Earth’s Best, Serenity Kids, Little Spoon, MeWe Baby, Ella’s Kitchen, Mama Bear Organic, Once Upon a Farm, Baby Mum-Mum, and Happy Baby Organics.
Homemade vs store bought organic baby food, what do you prefer? If you are looking for alternatives baby food, here is the article.
As a reputable organic baby food company, here are the reasons why Gerber is one of classic and famous baby food sellers in the world:
- Gerber’s approach to sustainability
This reason will not help our babies directly or right away, but as parents, we have the responsibility to create a better world for them. One of the steps we can do is support companies who help protect the planet, which our children will benefit from later on.
Gerber introduced responsible packaging that 80% of their packaging is recyclable. The company’s IncrediPouch is 100% recyclable.
- Gerber’s continuous research on how best we can feed our babies
Nestle has the largest food research and development network, and with its support, Gerber can continuously innovate their products. For example, they recently reformulated their meals and snacks for toddlers and reduced trans fats and sodium content. The company also has a panel of 2,000 babies to test their baby food to make sure it tastes good!
- Gerber’s innovation in helping parents
Gerber created MyGerber so parents can have access to smart tools and expert advice.
Now, let’s go back to the real meat of this article. Is Gerber baby organic food worth it? Here are some of their baby organic food. You may find the rest of their products here.
- Organic banana mango
- Pear peach strawberry
- Apple blueberry spinach
- Purple carrot banana acai with cardamom
- Squash pear peach with basil
- Squash apple sweet potato
- Apple zucchini spinach strawberry
- Carrot apple mango
- Banana raspberry & yogurt with vanilla
- Apple carrot squash
- Mango peach carrot sweet potato oatmeal
- Banana strawberry beet oatmeal
- Banana mango avocado quinoa vanilla
- Apple mango raspberry avocado oatmeal
- Pear mango avocado
- Pear peach oatmeal
- Banana acai berry mixed grain
- Apple purple carrot blueberry with yogurt
- Sweet potato apple, carrot, and cinnamon
- Apple kale fig
- Apple mango brown rice with vanilla
- Apple peach
- Apple spinach kale
- Apple raspberry acai berry
- Mango apple banana
- Banana blueberry blackberry oatmeal
- Banana apple strawberry with millet quinoa and cinnamon
- Banana mango
- Banana squash
- Pear purple carrot raspberry
- Banana strawberry raspberry mixed grain
- Apple wild blueberry
- Mango apple carrot kale
- Apple strawberry beet
- Pear blueberry apple avocado
- Carrot banana mango with millet & quinoa
- Pear spinach
- Carrot apple pear
- Pear zucchini mango
- Pumpkin banana carrot
- Butternut squash
Is Gerber as good as it claims?
It is a reputable, one of the leading industries of selling baby food worldwide, they claimed that they have the strictest testing standard in the world to provide the consumers with the best quality products. The problem is the baby food industry largely regulates itself, they have the authority to choose whether or not to test their products for toxic heavy metals. When companies are allowed to regulate themselves, it allows for holes in the test results.
Gerber tests their raw materials for toxic heavy metals, but they fail to test their finished products for contaminants.
Are the products safe to be consumed for the babies as they claim? Let’s dive into the findings of reports and see what they have found in Gerber products.
Gerber Organic Baby Food Review
Findings from the investigations conducted by Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Committee on Oversight and Reform, U.S. House of Representatives
The levels of toxic metals in Gerber were much lower compared to other major brands, but they still exceed the maximum safe levels set by the FDA.
(a) Arsenic Levels in Gerber Baby Food
Both the FDA and the EPA have set maximum safe arsenic levels for bottled water at 10 ppb. Gerber baby food products used ingredients that contained over 90 ppb inorganic arsenic based on lab testing, which is 9 times the FDA maximum safe level. In the report, Gerber chose to use five batches of rice flour with over 98 ppb arsenic, and 67 batches with over 90 ppb arsenic.
Of all the toxin heavy metals, arsenic is considered the most hazardous. In young children, exposure to arsenic in the long term is known to cause not only neurologic problems but can also damage the central nervous system.
(b) Lead Levels in Gerber Baby Food
The FDA’s maximum safe level for lead is 5 ppb in drinking water, 20 ppb in juice and 100 ppb in candy products. Gerber used ingredients in its baby food that tested as high as 48 ppb for lead. Example in the report, Gerber chose to include conventional sweet potatoes in their products that were found to contain as high as 48 ppb lead, and also used 12 other batches of sweet potato with more than 20 ppb lead.
The safe limit for lead in fruit juices is less than 1 ppb. Most of Gerber’s juice concentrates tested positive for 11.2 ppb lead and more than 83% of Gerber’s juice concentrates displayed test results higher than 1 ppb lead.
Lead is considered the second most toxic of the heavy metals that are known to pose a threat to human health. Even a small Lead exposure is linked to neurologic and cognitive developmental issues in children.
(c) Mercury Levels in Gerber Baby Food
The FDA has set the maximum safe level of mercury in drinking water at 2 ppb. The levels of mercury in Gerber baby foods can’t be determined because Gerber does not test for mercury in its products.
Mercury ranks no. 3 after arsenic and lead in terms of the toxicity on baby foods. Studies have shown that pre-natal exposure to mercury can lead to adverse neurologic development. More specifically, high blood levels of mercury in toddlers have been positively associated with “autistic behaviors.”
(d) Cadmium Levels in Gerber Baby Food
The FDA has set the maximum safe limit for cadmium in drinking water at 5 ppb. The report found that Gerber baby food products containing carrots were contaminated with cadmium. Over 75% of Gerber’s carrot foods contained over 5 ppb cadmium and some contained up to 87 ppb.
Cadmium ranks no.4 on the list of hazardous toxic metals in baby foods. Cadmium exposure in children has been linked to lower IQ and the development of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
After the release of the report in February 2021, regarding heavy metals in baby foods like Gerber has led to a number of product liability lawsuits against Gerber by parents claiming that their children developed autism (or other disorders).
These lawsuits are partly based on the findings in the report which clearly show that Gerber was aware of the fact that its baby food products contained heavy metals well above the maximum safe limits set by the FDA.
Besides having an issue related to heavy metal on their products due to recent headlines , 2019 report and 2021 report in relations to some of the famous baby food industry including Gerber. Are parents going to trust these brands again? Or there are other alternatives? Are they safe too ?
Why Gerber baby food products are still been sold in the market?
There is no recall on these products therefore you still see Gerber baby food products around in the market.
In U.S, heavy metal are naturally occurring in soil, water and found in the elevated field with polluted pesticides, other contaminants and pollutants from nearby industrial operations. Parents can’t shop for these food by choosing organic food or by switching stored bought organic baby food to homemade purees.
These are the worries that we face. Either over relying on stored bought baby food or purely homemade is not the ultimate solution. But it isn’t all products from Gerber which is not safe based on the report. Here are the expert’s suggestion to all the parents:
|Higher risk baby food||Safe alternatives||Toxic Heavy metal level|
|Puff snack||rice free snack||93% less|
|Teething biscuits or rice rusks||chilled banana or cucumber (homemade soothing food for teething)||91% less|
|Rice cereal||replace with multigrain, oatmeal cereal||84% less|
|Fruit Juices||plain water||68% less|
|Carrot and sweet potatoes||serve other fruits and vegetables along with carrot and sweet potatoes||up to 73% less|
Food such as sweet potatoes and carrot retain more heavy metal than other fruits and vegetables. By mixing them with other fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heavy metal exposure.
We also don’t know whether the packed baby food from the market has lower amount of toxic heavy metal than the homemade varieties? According to 2019 report stated that heavy metal for certain stored bought baby food such as peach and green bean are lower compared to fresh ones from the market. If parents go for the safe alternatives, babies can be less exposure to heavy metal content.
Diversifying your baby’s diet and reduce the reliance on pre-packed baby food can also help to reduce the exposure to heavy metals.
My Verdict for Gerber Organic Baby Food
The choice is on us. Gerber organic baby food can be consumed and remembers those 5 safe alternatives? Stay away from the high risk ingredients and diversify your baby food choices are the best, always read the label of content before you purchase.
Besides heavy metal content, parents also must be wary that these packed food may contain foreign objects and can be gone bad (moldy) before the expiry date. Always pour out the baby food and taste it yourself before you offer them to your little one.
Share with us your opinion and experience about feeding your baby with Gerber products and what is your finding? Will you trust Gerber to provide us safe baby food? Tell us in the comment box below.
Related post “Homemade vs stored bought baby food“
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Gerbers been around for as long as it has because of good marketing and branding. They’ve created a recognizable and trustworthy-ish brand. Their baby food isn’t all that different from any other brand of baby food, it’s basically blended fruit and vegetable blends, but their value is in being recognizable.