Photo: Hasse Holmberg/Scanpix

Toxic baby food warning

A Swedish study has found that some processed baby formula may contain unacceptably high levels of toxics, leading the nation's food safety watchdog to launch an investigation. Kevin Billinghurst has more.

The National Food Administration, responsible for monitoring threats to the nation's food supply, plans to investigate the causes of wide variations in measured levels of certain toxic substances found in mother's milk replacement and baby formula products sold in Sweden.

Research by the Institute for Environmental Medicine, a department of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, indicates that manganese, cadmium and arsenic are present in some raw materials, especially rice-based products, and that levels may by increased by nutritional enrichment processes.

The study shows that the products remain within toxic limits set by Swedish and EU law, and the Food Administration says there is not yet any indication that manufacturers are violating regulations or that children face serious health risks.

But the agency advises parents using replacement formula for children with milk or soy allergies to consult a doctor or dietician to find the safest alternatives, and to pay attention to manganese levels declared on the labels of enriched foods.

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