IFIC Foundation Statement on Lead in Food

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Lead is one of a number of naturally occurring minerals that’s present within the environment around us.  It’s present in the air we breathe, water we drink, and the soil where plants grow.  Because of this, trace levels of lead can be detected in various plant-based food and beverage products. While there are varying, albeit very low, levels of lead in our food supply in fruits, vegetables, and their juices, according to the FDA these small amounts do not pose a significant risk to human health. The scientific evidence shows that greater exposure comes from non-food ingestion (paint chips and lead dust).

To ensure the safety of our food supply, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors and tests 280 foods for naturally occurring contaminants such as lead, through the Total Diet Study (TDS). More recently, in September 2016, the FDA examined lead levels in infant and toddler food and concluded that lead levels in these foods are “low and not likely to cause a human health concern.” Since the FDA has not found unsafe lead levels in the food supply, there is no need to change your diet to avoid any particular food or beverage.

Additional Resources: 

IFIC Q&A: Lead in the Food Supply

Expert Perspective: Lead and Children’s Health

FDA: Questions and Answers on Lead in Foods

FDA: Total Diet Study (TDS)

CDC: Sources of Lead