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New California Law on Baby Food Testing and Disclosures

This summary provides an overview of California Assembly Bill 899 (AB 899), which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 11, 2023. This legislation represents the first of its kind in the nation in implementing the recommendations of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy (the “Subcommittee”)by requiring that manufacturers test for toxic heavy metals in commercial baby foods and make the results publicly available.

What is the purpose of the Law?

In its 2021 report on toxic heavy metals in baby foods, the Subcommittee found that significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury, posed a danger to infant neurological development and long-term brain function. To address this concern, AB 899, now the law, requires baby food manufacturers to test their products for certain toxic heavy metals and post the test results on their websites. Since California is the largest consumer market in the nation, AB 899 advances the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) initiative to reduce children’s exposure to cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic in their diets.

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