Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Posted by Erica Winn
This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Processed baby food has been around for many years and is a popular choice for feeding children. However, studies have shown that commercial baby food contains toxins like heavy metals and other contaminants.

These harmful traces can have long-lasting effects on infants because their immune systems and digestive systems are still developing. Unfortunately, not many people know this, so we decided to shed light on this information.

We’ll cover:

Vertical image with text overlay at the top. Image of a bowl of pureed squash and salmon baby food with a spoon in the bowl.

Toxins and Heavy Metals in Commercial Baby Food

Commercial baby food contains many toxins due to contamination from the manufacturing process. For example, scientists have found heavy metals in manufactured baby food such as cadmium, lead, and arsenic.

Despite these metals occurring naturally in the Earth, too much of them over time can lead to delayed brain development, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses. Even organic baby food companies that claim their products are free of heavy metals cannot be entirely sure there are no traces.

The only way to ensure your baby is getting the healthiest, cleanest food is to make your own baby food from organic foods. Organic foods are regulated with strict standards to ensure they aren’t contaminated, making it a far better option than buying baby food products.

Here are some simple recipes for homemade baby food:

Homemade baby bone broth with a spoonful lifted out of the bowl to show how gelatinous it is.
Homemade baby bone broth – a great nutrient dense first food for babies.

The Difference Between Commercial Baby Food and Pureed Whole Foods

There are significant differences between commercial baby food and homemade baby food. For example, commercial baby foods are mass-produced, using cheap ingredients with little nutritional value. In addition, baby food goes through a manufacturing process that exposes it to heavy metals.

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t highly regulate baby food. This means they aren’t watching out for contaminants like heavy metals.

On the other hand, whole organic foods aren’t mass-produced and don’t contain additives to increase shelf life, making them a better choice to feed your baby.

Commercial baby food is also different from pureed whole foods because baby food brands use extremely high heat to eliminate any bacteria in their products. As a result, most of the nutrients are stripped from the food, making it useless for your baby to eat.

However, pureed whole foods like this butternut squash puree are taken as a whole and pureed into a smooth, digestible meal. Therefore, you are not exposing the food to extreme heat or removing any nutrients, making it healthier for your baby’s immune system and developing brain.

Developing children need foods high in nutritional value to support their digestive systems and brains rather than counteract it, which is why choosing fresh food is so crucial during early childhood.

Another downside to commercial baby food is that there is very little variety. You can’t experiment as much and raise adventurous eaters if they get used to the same food.

On the other hand, making homemade baby food with real foods will taste different every time. For example, in-season vegetables will always taste much better than mass-produced jars of baby food. In addition, giving your baby a wide variety of new foods reduces the risk of picky eaters later on.

Read more about the other advantages of homemade baby food and where to start in our post Baby Food: Homemade vs. Store Bought!

How to Avoid Processed Baby Food

We know it can be difficult to avoid processed baby food. It’s readily available and much more accessible when you’re in a pinch than making your own food. We do rely on the convenience of processed foods sometimes, too.

However, after six months of age, your baby begins weaning off breast milk and they need certain nutrients not found in traditional baby foods.

For example, baby purees and infant foods usually have added sugar, preservatives, fruit juices, and other non-nutritive ingredients. So, it’s a good idea to avoid processed baby food as much as possible, especially when your baby becomes ready for solid foods.

Image of a baby sitting at the table in their high chair eating with their dad sitting next to them.

The best way to avoid processed baby food is to avoid the baby food aisle. We know it’s tough but trust us. Instead, stick to the produce aisle in the grocery store to find healthy options for your baby’s food.

Tasty foods like green beans, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, squash, and zucchini are great for making pureed food and add a ton of nutrients to your baby’s diet. If possible, try to get organic food as this will be the best option for reducing toxins.

Our Starting Solids course is a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to support your baby’s gut health and make nutrient dense baby food!

3 More Benefits of Avoiding Commercial Baby Foods

  1. Meeting your baby’s nutritional needs. In the early stages of your baby’s life, you must avoid unsafe foods.
  2. Introducing family food to your children. You want your baby to be accustomed to eating what the rest of the family eats. This prevents picky eaters and promotes healthy eating habits in young children.
  3. Save money. For example, baby manufacturers factor distribution charges into their prices, unlike making homemade puree from scratch.
Vertical image with text overlay at the top. Image of pureed apple pear sauce in a ramekin with a spoon in the bowl. Apples and pears in the background.

Best Organic Baby Food

Now, all of that said, if you do go for processed baby foods from time to time, we have found the best quality option to be Serenity Kids pouches. They actually test them for heavy metals. In addition, they contain healthy fats, protein, organic veggies and no added sugar ever! They are by far the most balanced processed baby food option we’ve found that also strays from foods we recommend avoiding as you introduce solids.

Serenity Kids was the only processed baby food we ever fed our own little one as an infant. She still enjoys them when she’s teething, not feeling her best or we are on-the-go.

Save 15% off your purchase at Serenity Kids with the code HEALTHYLITTLEBELLIES at checkout!

Serenity Kids pouches are the only processed baby foods we allowed for our little one when we first introduced solids.


It’s no secret that processed baby foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to our children’s health. By reading this information, we hope you start to think more about food safety and avoid processed baby food. We’ve helped so many new parents swap out their baby’s processed purees for nutritious food that tastes good and nourishes their bodies. Click to learn more about our Starting Solids Course and how you can avoid processed baby food for good.

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