Heavy metals naturally occur in soil and water and are found throughout the earth's crust. However, inorganic heavy metals are those derived from environmental contamination and impurities that the soil receives from agricultural practices, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and they are dangerous. These metals have been linked to cancer, chronic disease and neurotoxic effects, and they pose a threat to brain development in babies.
A recently released congressional report found that top commercial baby foods are tainted with significant, high levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. The levels of toxic metals in the products far exceed the limit the US Food and Drug Administration has set for other products like bottled water, the report also said.
What is the White Leaf Difference?
While the report is giving the topic renewed attention (as it should!), and we must hold food manufacturers accountable, these findings aren't entirely new. In fact, it is one of the core reasons why we founded White Leaf. Our mission when we started the company was to build a trusted family brand with regenerative farming at its core to finally offer parents products with a level of purity and transparency, unseen in the US before. As parents ourselves, we were aware of many contaminants -- including heavy metals -- that could potentially be found in the food we were feeding our baby, Keegan, and just how harmful these contaminants could be.
Since our founding, we have and continue to issue routine, annual testing of our products to ensure that they meet the highest standards for purity and transparency, and that our metal levels come in even well below the FDA requirements (for rice cereal and apple juice). We test consistently for harmful herbicides like Glyphosate as well, and work with partners like The Detox Project, a research & certification platform that encourages transparency in food, specifically on the subject of toxic chemicals.
Why We Need to Start from the Ground Up...Literally
You’ve heard us tout the innumerable reasons why investing in and purchasing regeneratively farmed foods is so important. These findings are just another reason why we believe so deeply in supporting farming reform. While the heavy metal-laden baby food brands are problematic certainly, the core issue starts with how our food is grown and harvested.
For example...even if you were to pledge to make all of your baby food from scratch, buying, washing, and blending your own fruits and vegetables, there’s still no guarantee the final product won't be contaminated with heavy metals, as even organic produce can be grown in soil with traces of them. That’s why purchasing biodynamic (the pinnacle of purity when it comes to farming) is a great start, but mostly, we need to change our soils on a large scale.
Since the industrial revolution, we have been manipulating the way we grow and harvest food in the US in an effort to mass produce at a cheaper price. In addition to leaching heavy metals into the soil, these farming practices have also led to:
- destruction of healthy soil
- mistreatment of animals
- the development of GMO crops
- water pollution
overuse of toxic chemicals like Glyphosate, a cancer-causing
This has also led to a decline in the nutritional quality of many crops, meaning that our food in the US is less nutritious than ever before. To add insult to injury, the U.N. estimates that the earth's healthy soil will be gone within 60 years, also known as our children’s lifetime (and even perhaps ours too). Indeed, throughout history, entire civilizations have risen and fallen based on the quality of their soil.
Do not fear, not all hope is lost -- in fact, we know the solution! Soil quality is the root of ensuring a healthy planet and a safe future for our kiddos. Healing the earth through regenerative farming will help to reverse the detrimental effects that mainstream agriculture has had on the land for generations.
Here’s the dirt on what we can expect by improving soil health:
- Soil health 101: Plants get their nutrients from the soil and the healthier your soil is, the healthier your produce is.
- Improving soil means a return of microbes, fungi and macro-fauna, like earthworms. These soils are better able to fend off disease and pests, so there is no need for toxic herbicides and pesticides .
- It’s no surprise then, this healthy soil ecosystem grows the most nutrient dense food (goodbye toxic heavy metals!).
- Given the right regenerative practices, the farming is also uniquely positioned to mitigate climate change and ensure our soil health is sustained for years to come.
By supporting the movement and eating biodynamic foods, we can ensure our little ones’ foods are non-toxic now, and help to reverse the effects of the climate crisis in the future! The photosynthesis of plants and the microbes in the soil are actually our very best technology. By growing our plants in an entirely different way than we are used to in the US, we can help achieve "drawn down," also known as the beginning of global cooling. Read more on the link between regenerative agriculture and helping to reverse climate change here.
Today and every day, we pledge to always and only use biodynamic, regeneratively farmed ingredients to provide your family with better-for-you products from farm to shelf -- the true heart and soul of White Leaf since day one. Thank you as always for your support! And for helping make our dreams a reality of a healthier, happier world, from people to planet.