Via America’s Lawyer: More than half a year since Congress released a report detailing alarming levels of heavy metals in baby foods, Beech-Nut finally decides to pull its rice cereal products from store shelves. Attorney Stephen Luongo joins Mike Papantonio to discuss how the FDA has turned a blind eye to the issue, allowing manufacturers to continue selling products tainted with lead, cadmium, and arsenic.

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

Mike Papantonio:             Since Congress released its report about dozens of baby food companies selling tainted toxic metals, lawsuits have piled up against manufacturers. So why are regulators still allowing these products to be sold on the shelves? Attorney Stephen Luongo joins me to talk about it. Steve, this is, this is easy math, isn’t it? You know, the FDA doesn’t do anything for years and years. Congress has to put together a special committee because they’re getting so much information about this baby food being contaminated with arsenic and cadmium and lead and mercury and about every heavy metal on the planet. And so Congress says, look, it’s you, you better do something or we’re going to pass some legislation to make you do it. FDA still asleep at the wheel.

Stephen Luongo:               It seems like every week we’re back here talking about these government agencies that aren’t doing anything.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Stephen Luongo:               We were constantly talking about what is the FDA doing? What is their purpose? Why are they not getting involved? And that’s exactly what we have here is we have several whistleblowers, several lawsuits throughout the country, bringing to attention to the public forum, hey, these heavy metals are in the baby food. They’re susceptible to these infants and they’re causing damage. And the FDA is just sitting on their hands.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, to be clear, these are lawsuits where they’ve, the lawyers have tested the baby food and they found, they found sky-rocketing levels of arsenic parts per billion well above a hundred. Well, well above what the legal levels should be. And so, so the problem is these heavy metals cause developmental problems in children. They’re very specific about how they go about that. You have families that feed the same baby food, whether it’s Beech-Nut or whatever it is to the child year after year, day after day and it’s accumulative. The heavy metals are accumulative in the child’s body. What companies are now being sued?

Stephen Luongo:               So you mentioned one earlier, Beech-Nut, is obviously one of them. But we have the big boys. We have Gerber, we have Campbell Soup. We have Walmart, as well as Nurture Inc and Earth’s Best.

Mike Papantonio:             We’ll post them up on this show up on this slide so people can see it. What’s happened, what’s happening with the FDA? They’re again, there’s no surprise. They’re silent about it. They’re almost embarrassed by the fact that Congress had to put together a special committee. And when they did the job, they said, what are you guys waiting for to do something? If you don’t do something, we’re going to do something congressionally because we know this, we know that the biggest problem, here’s one thing they found. The biggest problem is rice. Okay. They use rice in the baby food as a filler because it’s cheap. But the rice has a tendency to suck up every heavy metal around in the soil, right?

Stephen Luongo:               Absolutely. The rice is the major product, specifically the rice cereal products that they’re feeding these infants and what the, the heavy metal that is really becoming the problem is the arsenic. The inor, inorganic arsenic is being soaked up by this rice. The FDA, they did give some guidance last year, as far as what an acceptable parts per billion is for the arsenic. They have it listed at a hundred, even though they also give guidance as far as what is acceptable in bottle of water and it’s at 10 points per billion.

Mike Papantonio:             Right, right. Bottled water, the EPA has to admit it’s 10 parts per billion. But they’re saying, okay, but we’re saying, when it comes to feeding children baby food, you can give them a hundred parts per billion.

Stephen Luongo:               Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Look, the FDA is guide, they said, well, we have to be guided by science. Can you imagine the FDA saying, we need to be guided by science? There’s so much science out there right now it’s overwhelming. But the problem is what you have is this gaggle of corporate controlled stooges that are involved in the regulatory aspect. They’re just, and all they’re doing is they’re just jockeying for a job. You know, the person looking at this case may be saying, you know what, when I leave here, maybe Beech-Nut will give me a job where they pay half a million dollars a year. That’s exactly what’s happening with virtually every agency. But the FDA is really one of the worst revolving door that’s taking place. Congress proposed the baby food safety act. Tell me about it.

Stephen Luongo:               So that was proposed by Raja Krishna. Morphe, a Congressman out of Illinois and what they are proposing and giving guidance on is saying FDA’s doing nothing as far as giving these levels and regulations for all four of these major heavy metals. So they went ahead and did it, and they proposed for the arsenic, they’re proposing the 10 parts per billion or 15 parts for the cereal. As well as for lead, five parts per billion, cadmium, five points per billion and mercury two points.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Cadmium is probably one of the worst also. Thank you for joining me. Okay.

Stephen Luongo:               Absolutely. Thank you, sir.

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.