Parents and caregivers of little ones might want to check pantries and cupboards for Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal after the company recently announced a voluntary recall. A batch of the infant rice cereal was found to contain arsenic in higher levels than the limit of 100 parts per billion allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On June 8, Beech-Nut recalled Stage One Single Grain Rice Cereal with expiration date of May 1, 2022 and the product codes 103470XXXX and 093470XXXX. These product codes and expiration dates can be found at the bottom of the rice cereal cannisters.
The recall came as a result of routine testing by the State of Alaska that found inorganic arsenic at levels that exceeded guidance from the FDA as part of the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021. The new Baby Food Safety Act requires the FDA to put limits in place for the use of potentially toxic substances like cadmium, inorganic arsenic, lead, and mercury in baby food. Even trace amounts of these substances can harm the brain development of a baby.
"The safety of infants and children is Beech-Nut's top priority,” Jason Jacobs, vice president of food safety and quality at Beech-Nut, said in a statement. “We are issuing this voluntary recall, because we learned through routine sampling by the State of Alaska that a limited quantity of Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal products had levels of naturally-occurring inorganic arsenic above the FDA guidance level, even though the rice flour used to produce these products tested below the FDA guidance level for inorganic arsenic.
According to the company, no illnesses related to the recalled products have been reported to date and no other rice cereal production dates or Beech-Nut products are affected.
In addition to this recall, in a statement shared with the FDA, Beech-Nut said it will also stop selling single grain baby rice cereal. “Beech-Nut has also decided to exit the market for Beech-Nut branded Single Grain Rice Cereal,” the company said. “Beech-Nut is concerned about the ability to consistently obtain rice flour well-below the FDA guidance level and Beech-Nut specifications for naturally occurring inorganic arsenic.”
Consumer Reports has praised Beech-Nut for its voluntary recall. “We’ve known for years that toxic heavy metals are found in popular baby foods and can lead to serious health problems in children over time,” Brian Ronholm, director of food policy for Consumer Reports, said in a statement shared with Romper. “This recall underscores why we need strict limits to keep dangerous heavy metals out of the food that so many parents serve their young children every day.”
If you are concerned that you might have the recalled product, contact Beech-Nut via the recall page on its website or call 866-272-9417 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday for further information on obtaining an exchange or refund. Beech-Nut has also provided a form on its website to fill out for any consumer looking to replace their product.