Via America’s Lawyer: Congress unveils a report outlining sky-high levels of toxic heavy metals found across popular baby food brands. Was the FDA asleep at the wheel? Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             A new report has revealed shocking levels of dangerous heavy metals in baby food and FDA has been asleep at the wheel as usual. I have Farron Cousins with me to talk about it, he’s the editor of the trial lawyer magazine and honestly, I don’t, I just say this for the right reason, one of the best progressive reporters in this business, I really do mean that.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Farron, I looked at this story and I wasn’t all that surprised, you know, it’s the FDA, but lay this story out. Here we have, we have baby food that has cadmium, lead, arsenic in it and the FDA has been diddling around with this for a generation, almost. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  It, it really has. What this report tells us and they’ve been looking into this for several years, because they had inklings, they had reports, they had internal documents that showed, okay, well, these baby food companies know they’ve got some heavy metals in their food. So let’s find out how bad the problem is. They didn’t compel any of these companies to cooperate, which is a big, big misstep by the way. But then we find out not only are there shocking levels, I mean, we’re talking about hundreds of parts per billion more than what would be considered safe, but the FDA also has no limits. There’s no limits on most baby food.

Mike Papantonio:             See, see that’s the problem. They don’t have limits on things like PFAS, for example, that’s in our water because they haven’t studied it. They, the politics have, have prevented it. They don’t have limits on things like, like arsenic. They’ve got a limit on lead, which is one part per billion in baby food, which is way crazy because lead, because, because lead is cumulative. It’s bio-persistent, and it’s cumulative and it’s bioactive in the system, causes neurological disease. But who, okay, so who are these companies? Let’s call some names, Gerber, Beech-Nut, Happy baby, Campbell Soup and any time, by the way, anytime I see Nestle involved.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, Nestle’s Gerber.

Mike Papantonio:             Nestle is Gerber. What an awful company. I mean just the worst of the worst predator company. And so here, here’s the point, they’re saying this, which I think is ridiculous. Well, you know what, we tested each of the components. If we used rice, we tested the rice. If we use whatever we tested it, doesn’t make any difference.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They never tested the end product, which is the composite of all of these metals.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. So, so they would take like, okay, well, the rice has some mercury in it. The, the, the carrots have some arsenic in it. The peas, they’ve got some lead, but we’re just going to mix them all together and add all of these horrible things into this horrid concoction that you’re feeding your child. We’re not going to tell you about it. The FDA doesn’t care about it. And it took Congress to finally say, hey, uh, companies, could you, would you be willing to hand over your studies? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Mike Papantonio:            Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  This, this is systemic failures across the board.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Please do it voluntarily.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             You understand they do the same thing with the pharmaceutical industry.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Please, please would you please, oh, would you please give us this information? This is what they’re doing here. Now, just to give you a sense of it. Okay. Beech-Nut, 800 parts per billion in lead, 800 parts per billion, 300 parts per billion of cadmium. Now we, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand, go Google it. See what cadmium can do to the neurological centers of your, of your body. See what lead can do. See what arsenic can do. These are all heavy metals. They collect in the body. They stay there. They don’t move through the body and it’s here today and gone tomorrow. That’s why every time you see these lead paint cases, these kids that have been eating paint off the side of the wall, they’re permanently damaged the rest of their life.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             The IQ is affected. Looks, they, they develop Asperger’s disease, things that look like autism and so we know what the problem is and these companies, they know that they could go to certain places in the world where we have less cadmium in the rice, less lead in the rice. They could go there, but they say, oh, no, let’s go over here because we get a better deal.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re going to send us rice that, yeah, it might be infected with, with lead or mercury, but we’re getting a good deal.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and people need to start asking questions as to why are there no limits on these heavy metal toxins in baby foods? You’re talking about the most vulnerable portion of any population anywhere is these developing children. You know, from the time they are, most of them about three months old, when they start eating foods like this, they’re still developing. Their brains have not finished. You know, their neurological system has not finished being put together and you’re already putting toxic metals into them. Why did the FDA never decide, wait a minute, maybe we shouldn’t poison kids?

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Farron, how about this. So Campbell Soup and Walmart said, no, we’re not giving you our stuff and the FDA has said, okay. That’s ok. The FDA needs to be completely just start from scratch again, get all of these political pimps, all of these corporate pimps that worked for the FDA that all they care about, they’re always looking for their next job. If I get mad at Campbell Soup, or I get mad at Walmart, they might not give me a job when I leave the FDA. And we see it all the time in pharmaceutical cases, you know, we see, we see, hey, here’s your way out of the FDA. You’ll see Pfizer or Merck, here’s your way out of the FDA. Because if you work with us on this Joe or Mary, you know what we can’t promise you, but when you get out, we might have a job for you that pays a million and half dollars and it’s better than your $125,000 a year.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And the, the person who goes and fills the vacant spot at the FDA also typically comes from that company too. That’s the revolving door.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, Pfizer will send their people to the FDA, they’ll take in the FDA’s people. It’s, it’s worse with all the drug companies.

Mike Papantonio:             It is so corrupt. It is just so corrupt and the American public, maybe they’ll pay attention to this. I mean, these are their children. Because most people say, ah, I don’t want to get involved. I don’t understand it.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.