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U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Toxic Substances in Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of our food supply. This agency takes many measures to ensure that foods are safe, but it has long been criticized for allowing small levels of certain toxic substances in food. So why does the FDA allow toxic substances at all?

Common Toxic Substances Found in Food

Toxins can enter our food supply in a variety of ways. Three main types of toxic substances may be present in food:

  • Chemicals – Found in food as a result of the manufacturing process.
  • Metals – Can enter food through contaminated water or soil (as well as through manufacturing plants.)
  • Pesticides – May be used on crops to protect them from pests and are carried on through distribution.

While there is a concern about all the types of toxins found in our food, there is a growing concern, in particular, about the amount of heavy metals found in commercially manufactured foods.

Growing Concern About Metals Present in Food Products

The FDA recently released a report detailing the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury found in various baby foods. These heavy metals are known to be toxic to infants, and their presence in food raises serious concerns about food safety. The report found that rice-based products are the most significant source of dietary exposure to these heavy metals.

Why Does the FDA Allow Any Amount of Toxic Substances?

The presence of toxins in our food supply is an unfortunate reality. While it would be ideal to have every food free of harmful substances, it is simply impossible. Numerous factors contribute to this, including how food is grown, processed, and transported. In addition, many toxins occur naturally in the environment, and trace amounts can end up in the food we eat. While the levels of these toxins are usually very low, they can still pose a risk to human health.

For this reason, the federal government has established guidelines that allow the FDA to decide the levels of toxins that are considered safe. According to Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110,

“Some foods, even when produced under current good manufacturing practice, contain natural or unavoidable defects that at low levels are not hazardous to health. The Food and Drug Administration establishes maximum levels for these defects in foods produced under current good manufacturing practice and uses these levels in deciding whether to recommend regulatory action.”

Action levels for certain toxic substances found in foods can be found here.

Manufacturing Companies Can Still Act Negligently

However, even with these guidelines in place, manufacturing companies can still be negligent in their production. In some cases, contaminated food products have made it to store shelves, posing a serious risk to consumers. In other cases, companies have been caught intentionally using toxic chemicals in their production process and misleading the FDA by withholding pertinent studies and information.

Have You Been Injured by Defective Products?

Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. represents individuals who have been injured by defective food products. We have the experience and resources necessary to take on the big food companies and hold them accountable for the injuries their products have caused. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective food product, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you know has been injured by defective food products, call us today at (954) 467-8800 or fill out our form online.