(571) 447-5500

When consumers hear about brands including heavy metals in the foods they produce, panic ensues because many heavy metals are toxic when consumed. There are some cases where metal supplements not considered “heavy metals” may be added to certain foods, which may confuse consumers. This is why heavy metal testing is a crucial part of all food safety testing. It ensures that the food consumers are eating is safe for consumption, but it also helps educate consumers on what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to the addition of metals in some foods.

Heavy Metals in Food: Does the FDA Monitor Metals in Foods?

There has been quite an uptick in reports of metals in food, especially when it comes to metals found in supplements given to babies.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states explicitly that they do monitor levels of metals in foods. The FDA currently runs two tests for metals and other elements in food products, including:

  • Total Diet Study: This FDA program carefully monitors levels of approximately 800 different contaminants and nutrients in the average diet of U.S. citizens.
  • FDA’s Toxic Elements in Food and Foodware; And Radionuclides in Food Compliance Program: This program is specifically designed to monitor foods and products used in the consumption of foods, such as ceramicware, for the presence of toxic elements and radionuclides.

The FDA also states that they conduct targeted sampling assignments to report potentially elevated levels of heavy metals or other toxic elements in certain foods.

It is also worth noting that dozens of third-party testing groups make it their business to perform heavy metal testing as a regular part of their food safety testing practices to further ensure the safety of the consumable products currently on the market.

Food Safety Testing: Why are Heavy Metals Such a Hot Button Topic?

If heavy metal testing is a regular part of food safety testing done by both the FDA and the many third-party testing facilities around the country, why is the topic of metals in consumables such a hot topic?

One of the biggest stories to hit the internet lately is that baby formula, and other consumables, have been tested positively for metals. The inclusion of metals is often associated with the presence of arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.

While some testing has shown that there is some presence of these in consumables, most consumers are unaware that many of these foods are infused with some metals deemed essential for the body, such as iron. Many baby formulas and breakfast cereals are infused with iron to help supplement the minerals in a young child’s diet.

Where are These Heavy Metals Coming From?

Food manufacturers are not intentionally adding substances such as arsenic, lead, and mercury to the products they intend to sell to consumers. These minerals often are found within the ground, air, and even in the water that is used to grow and cultivate the products that are later sold in stores.

For example, anything made or grown in California is now labeled with a warning regarding the presence of heavy metals found in the earth in which many products are grown. Thanks to Proposition 65, all products that were grown in the ground or consumables and cosmetics made with such products must be labeled with the warning, even if no heavy metals (or other potentially harmful substances) are present in the product.

Food Safety Testing with Food Safety Net Services

Yes – heavy metals, when consumed in large quantities, can be hazardous. Heavy metal testing is a critical part of any food safety testing process because it checks for these potentially hazardous materials and helps identify where these materials are found in larger quantities. Once identified, necessary changes can be made to ensure the safety of consumers.

Here at Food Safety Net Services, we perform chemistry testing and analysis to identify various minerals, metals, and heavy metals to ensure consumers’ safety. We hold several accreditations, certifications, and awards, proving our dedication to the safety of all consumers, including:

  • A2LA Certifications in both Biological and Chemistry testing
  • USDA – FSIS approved laboratories accreditation in Food Chemistry
  • International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission 17025

Food Safety Net Services and Certified Laboratories perform chemistry testing and analysis to identify various minerals, metals, and heavy metals to ensure consumers’ safety.

Questions regarding the heavy metal testing processes or general food safety testing can be directed to Contact Us | Food Safety Testing | FSNS.

Posted in Foods, Under the Microscope.