QUALITY & SAFETY OF OUR PRODUCTS

We are aware of the recent Congressional report which has been released that shares testing data from different baby food brands in the industry. As a company run by parents who are proud to feed our children the products that we make every day, we take this topic very personally and seriously.

 

We can say with the utmost confidence that all Happy Family Organics products are safe for babies and toddlers to enjoy and we are proud to have best-in-class testing protocols in our industry. We only sell products that have been rigorously tested and we do not have products in-market with contaminant ranges outside of the limits set by the FDA. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of implementing strict quality standards in providing nutritious offerings for families. The safety, health and wellness of our little ones is, and has always been, an intrinsic part of our DNA.

Congressional Report FAQs

We know you have questions for us, and we are listening and working to provide you with the information you need to continue making the best choices for you and your little one. Please let us know how we are doing by sending us a message here.

How and why do heavy metals wind up in baby food?

Trace amounts of minerals and metals like arsenic and lead can be found naturally in the environment, including in water and soil. In turn, small amounts can be present in wholesome ingredients like leafy greens, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Nutrient-dense foods like spinach or carrots, for example, contain a higher density of metals such as lead and cadmium when compared with a less nutrient-dense food like white potato. Many everyday foods would contain trace amounts of these elements—whether they are prepared at home or sold as packaged food. By taking actions such as sourcing these ingredients from trusted farms, we are able to reduce the risk of these elements in our products. Additionally, we screen many ingredients for these elements before we ever agree to purchase or use them, and this is a standard practice across much of the baby food industry.

Is processed food higher in contaminants than fresh food?

These trace elements are present in many wholesome ingredients like leafy greens, grains, and fruits whether they are fresh or processed. Baby foods like pouches and jars are cooked to make them safe from potentially dangerous microorganisms, but the additional cooking steps have no known effect on the trace levels of these elements.

How can I trust that your food is safe?

We can say with the utmost confidence that all Happy Family Organics products are safe for babies and toddlers. In addition to meeting all local regulations, we have strict, self-imposed quality standards and reference other baby-specific sources like European Union (EU) baby food standards to inform our product development—we follow the best practices available globally to meet a high bar of requirements. We are also a leader in the industry on rigorous methodology, routinely testing both our ingredients and finished products to assure they are safe and healthy for baby.

What do you have to say about the data in the Congressional report?

The Congressional report brings to light a very important issue on the need for continued improvement in the way we work with our land and the standards that are set in the US across many foods. But as a brand that prides itself on a data-driven approach to quality, safety, and nutrition overall, we are deeply disappointed at the select usage of data we provided back in 2019, and the many inaccuracies in the report. We address the facts here on this page.

Did you knowingly sell products high in heavy metals that surpassed your own standards?

We’re at the forefront of the industry in terms of our quality standards and testing protocols. We have never knowingly sold any products that contained levels above our standards, or those set by the FDA when available. It’s important to note that many of what were referred to as our internal “standards” in the report were longer term targets or goals. We set these in order to continuously make improvements in our ingredient supply chains. For many of these elements, our internal targets are set against strict guidelines influenced by best practices available globally (including European Union (EU) baby food standards), as the FDA continues to improve industry regulations. For example, the data shared in the report was from 2017–2019, prior to the August 2020 finalized FDA guidance on inorganic arsenic. Our rice-based products, including Puffs, remained safe throughout this time, and we continued and continue to improve our products by working with our ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. Today, our products have significantly lower levels than highlighted in the report, well below the 100 ppb limit finalized by the FDA in 2020.

Do you test your ingredients and finished products?

Yes. We are proud to be a leader in the industry on rigorous methodology, routinely testing both our ingredients and finished products to assure they are safe and healthy for baby.

What actions have/are you taking to reduce levels of metals in your foods?

We are dedicated to data-driven improvements across our foods to bring mineral and metal levels down to as low as reasonably achievable (understanding that these elements are naturally occurring in the environment). Managing heavy metals is a core part of our product design, our ingredient qualifications processes, our auditing programs, and our continuous quality improvement initiatives. In addition to bringing new products to market which are both safe and nutritious, we are always looking back at our existing product portfolio, revisiting the product design, and working with our suppliers to deliver high quality ingredients for us to use in our recipes.

 

As a specific example, while our rice-based products, including Puffs, have been safe throughout the time period stated in the report (2017-2019), updates we have made to our supply chain (including the organic farms we source from) and the product recipe have continued to significantly reduce the level of inorganic arsenic since 2017.

 

As a founding member of the Baby Food Council, we are partnering with advisors like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other industry leaders to establish and share best practices to reduce the level of contaminants in baby food.

Is your formula safe? It wasn’t mentioned in the report.

We want to assure you that our Happy Baby Organics Infant Formula is safe for consumption by babies. Data points for formula were included in the report, but not mentioned due to their insignificant levels. While ingredients for formula are less likely to naturally include minerals and metals (when compared with rice or grains for example), our ingredients are carefully sourced to ensure that these levels remain low. Additionally, we’re at the forefront of the industry in terms of our quality standards and testing protocols; the FDA-inspected facility has been producing formulas for more than 30 years.

What resources do you have for parents?

We encourage parents to continue to read and research about their little ones’ foods and diet, and how by providing plenty of variety and a balanced approach to feeding, there should be no cause for concern. We have compiled resources from trusted sources here on this page, and welcome feedback and additions to this guide.

Our Quality & Food Safety Program 

Our Quality and Food Safety program is designed to ensure that all our products are safe for every baby and toddler. In addition to meeting our local regulations, we have strict, self-imposed quality standards and reference other baby-specific sources like European Union (EU) baby food standards to inform our product development—we follow the best practices available globally to meet a high bar of requirements. We are proud to be a leader in the industry on rigorous methodology, incorporating testing at all critical points in our supply chain. We test when we select suppliers, and we conduct surveillance testing on our finished product to ensure our customers are buying only products that meet our industry-leading standards for quality.

It is important to note that trace amounts of minerals and metals like arsenic and lead can be found naturally in the environment, including in water and soil. In turn, it is possible that small amounts can be present in wholesome ingredients like leafy greens, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Nutrient-dense foods like spinach or carrots, for example, contain a higher density of metals such as lead and cadmium when compared with a less nutrient-dense food like white potato. Many everyday foods would contain trace amounts of these elements—whether they are prepared at home or sold as packaged food.

Our Response to the Report

The Congressional report brings to light a very important issue on the need for continued improvement in the way we work with our land and the standards that are set in the US across many foods. But as a brand that prides itself on a data-driven approach to quality, safety, and nutrition overall, we are deeply disappointed at the select usage of data we provided back in 2019, and the many inaccuracies in the report. For example, the facts are as follows:

 

• The data shared in the report was from 2017–2019, prior to the August 2020 finalized FDA guidance on inorganic arsenic. Our rice-based products, including Puffs, remained safe throughout this time, and we continued to improve our products by working with our manufacturers, as well as updating the product recipe, and the organic farms we source from. Today, our products have significantly lower levels than highlighted in the report, well below the 100 ppb limit finalized by the FDA in 2020.

 

• The report also mentioned two data points for lead—641 ppb and 580 ppb. These data points are outliers—differing significantly from other reported data points—and not replicable in our testing (the next highest data point for either product measured at 15 ppb). We chose to include these points for full transparency and completeness on the total data set. Today, all of our products are well within the latest FDA interim guidance for lead.

 

• We had one result of 10 ppb mercury and 95% of products tested had less than 5 ppb. For reference, seafoods like shrimp & tuna will commonly have 30–70 ppb mercury.

 

We welcome additional guidance from the FDA on elements like cadmium and mercury, as these kinds of references will help us drive change widely through the industry. In the absence of defined guidelines, we look to the latest scientific research and health risk-based requirements published globally to hold our internal standards to strict quality and safety levels. Additionally, you can read more below on how as the market leader in organic baby food, we are partnering with experts and other industry leaders to create a contaminants management standard for our category, which will provide greater transparency.

Resources for Parents

We want to provide you and your family with resources informed by the latest science-based approach to a balanced diet. Our Happy Baby Experts (all registered dietitian nutritionists and all moms) share their tips for how we, as parents and caregivers, can provide a variety of safe and healthy foods for our little ones.

 

Tip 1: Offer your little one a variety of foods within each food group; e.g., root vegetables like potatoes and carrots in addition to vegetables grown above ground like kale, spinach, and broccoli.

 

Tip 2: Balance serving pre-packaged snacks with other snack options, such as fresh fruits, veggies with homemade dips like hummus, lean proteins, and healthy fats. For specific snack ideas, check out this article.

 

Tip 3: Don’t panic. You are making the best decisions possible for you and your baby. The most important takeaway is that it’s all about variety and a balanced diet—offering ready-made purees as well as homemade baby food introduces little ones to new tastes and textures, encourages their development of self-feeding skills, and helps provide the important nutrients babies need for healthy development.

 

If you have more questions or would like one-on-one support from our Happy Baby Experts, chat us here. Our trusted team of registered dietitian nutritionists, lactation consultants, and mental health expert have provided free, no-strings attached support to over 60,000 parents since 2017. Our Happy Baby Experts never market or sell our products.

 

What the Science Says

These helpful articles from trusted organizations and institutions focused on health and nutrition offer even more insight and understanding. We will continuously update this list with additional resources to offer parents and caregivers access to the latest science-based information.

 

Articles to read:

• The American Academy of Pediatrics shares recommendations on how to reduce heavy metal exposure, here and here.

• The International Food Information Council shares a breakdown of the presence of elements and heavy metals in our soil.

 

Science-based accounts to follow:

@foodsciencebabe, a chemical engineer and food scientist, breaks down trace levels of heavy metals in foods.

@profemilyoster, a professor and published author, shares a data-based perspective on the report as well as valuable advice for parents.

• @adviceigivemyfriends, a pediatrician and published author, helps support parents with professionally-backed and personally-experienced advice.

Our Quality Standards & Commitment to Organic

Our company was founded with the mission to change the trajectory of children’s health through nutrition, and built on the ambition that every baby and child should have access to high-quality, healthy food.

 

Here is a transparent look at the steps we take to ensure our products are safe for babies and toddlers, always USDA certified organic, non-GMO, and beyond.