Testing & Auditing

Testing & Auditing

more than 30 years of ingredient testing for heavy metals & metalloids

all ingredients in our purees are tested for up to 255 pesticides, toxins, heavy metals & other environmental elements

up to 20 rigorous, quality tests on our finished purees

lab analysts with over 32 years of combined food and testing experience

FAQs about Heavy Metals & Metalloids

Since the industrial era, heavy metals & metalloids have impacted our global food supply and soils. Thanks to advances in testing technology, scientists today have deeper understandings of how these environmental elements permeate produce & agricultural systems.

What is Beech-Nut Doing About Environmental Elements, such as Heavy Metals & Metalloids?

Ingredient Testing:

  • We have an in-house testing lab where we test ingredients for environmental element levels using state-of-the-art, testing technology.
  • We reject ingredient samples that do not meet our internal quality policy for naturally-occurring, heavy metals & metalloids taken up by crops’ roots during the growing process.
  • Our internal, chemical testing lab has now gained ISO 17025 Certification, a global accreditation for scientific testing labs.

Finished Goods Testing:

  • In 2022, we began testing our finished goods to validate our ingredient testing results. “Finished goods testing” involves collecting random, representative samples of our baby food jars, pouches, cereals & snacks before they are distributed to consumers, then testing those samples with laboratory analyses for consistency with their ingredients’ testing results.
  • Our finished goods process consistently verifies that our raw material testing is accurate.

Rice Free:

Beginning in 2022, we decided to stop using rice as an ingredient in our Beech-Nut branded baby food, due to our concern about the ability to consistently obtain rice flour well-below the FDA guidance level and our specifications for inorganic arsenic.

Avoid the Peel:

Heavy metals tend to accumulate in peels and outer casings. Our sweet potato and carrot purees are pre-peeled.

McGill University study showed that heavy metal concentrations were significantly lower in sweet potato flesh than in the peel, suggesting that when consuming potatoes grown under wastewater irrigation, the peel poses a higher health risk than the flesh.

40+ Ingredients

We use a variety of fruits and veggies as ingredients. The FDA says feeding a variety of ingredients to your children is recommended to minimize their exposure levels to naturally-occurring, heavy metals & metalloids in some foods.


In April 2021, the FDA announced its Closer to Zero Action Plan with a goal to reduce exposure to heavy metals & metalloids from foods commonly consumed by infants & young children. Beech-Nut is fully committed to working with FDA on the agency’s action plan and believes that establishing science-based FDA “action levels” for the presence of  naturally-occurring, heavy metals & metalloids in baby food is what is best for our industry and the families we serve.

What Else Can I Do as a Parent to Provide Healthy Foods?

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Ask Your Doctor:

It is always a good idea to speak with your child’s pediatrician about a diet that includes a variety of age-appropriate, healthy foods that provide needed nutrients.

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Feed the Rainbow:

The FDA says to offer a variety of fruits and veggies to help minimize your child’s exposure to metals and other environmental contaminants.

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Feed Nutrient Dense Foods:

Feeding nutrient dense foods may help to prevent heavy metals from accumulating in the body. Research from The Journal of Pediatrics suggests that correcting and/or preventing iron deficiency appear to be a rapid and effective means of reducing infant lead levels, even in non-anemic infants.

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When in Doubt, Peel

Heavy Metals tend to accumulate in peels and outer casings of fruits and vegetables. Ask your pediatrician about how to balance feeding grain casings (“whole grains”) and fiber-rich peels to your child.

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Research, Research, Research

We encourage you to read the below articles from leading scientific sources.

Rigorous Testing

All ingredients that go into our purees are tested for up to 255 contaminants and environmental elements, such as pesticides, heavy metals & metalloids, allergens and foreign materials in food samples sent to us from farmers and suppliers. We reject ingredient samples that do not meet our internal-quality standards for naturally-occurring, heavy metals & metalloids.

To monitor the quality of purees, we test every hour of jar & pouch production for taste, texture, color, consistency and viscosity (thickness).

Heavy metals testing machine

Testing Technology

Identifying miniscule heavy metal & metalloid particles within food is not an easy task. In 2019, we upgraded our internal testing technology to a machine that uses kinetic energy discrimination (KED) technology. This top-of-the-line technology can help us detect extremely low concentrations of heavy metal & metalloid particles in ingredients—as small as “ppb” (parts per billion).


In 2022, our Beech-Nut lab earned an ISO-Certification from the U.S.-based accreditation body, Assessment Accreditation Services | A2LA.  ISO 17025 accredited laboratories ensure test result accuracy, consistency, team member training and best practices and are internationally recognized to perform quality & safety testing on food

✔️ This distinction allows us to not only conduct accredited lead, cadmium, & arsenic levels tests for our food, but also for other companies’ foods.

✔️ Operating an accredited, in-house lab lets us conduct our tests more frequently.

You may have seen awards or certifications from the Clean Label Project on some baby food & toddler product labels & advertising. See how Beech-Nut’s heavy metal & metalloid testing procedures compare:

Laboratory Tests:Clean Label Project’s Purity Award (Baby Food Category) Beech-Nut Lab Tested
Tests are conducted within an ISO 17025 Certified Lab, a global laboratory standard✔️✔️
Tests detect molecular levels of Total Cadmium, Lead, and Arsenic✔️✔️
Tests are set to detect molecules of heavy metal & metalloids as small as <5 ppb (Parts per Billion)✔️
Raw Ingredient Testing:Clean Label Project’s Purity Award (Baby Food Category) Beech-Nut Lab Tested
Lab tests samples of raw ingredients✔️
Lab performs additional surveillance testing for ingredient crops that may absorb heavy metals & metalloids more readily than other crops during the growing process✔️
Finished Goods Testing:Clean Label Project’s Purity Award (Baby Food Category) Beech-Nut Lab Tested
Lab tests samples of finished goods from final production✔️✔️
Lab tests samples of finished goods from final production before they hit store shelves✔️
Lab performs additional surveillance testing for products containing ingredient crops that may absorb heavy metals & metalloids more readily than other crops during the growing process✔️✔️
Number of samples per item & frequency of test:1 sample per item, 1 time a year5 samples of item per every production batch
Awards:Clean Label Project’s Purity Award (Baby Food Category) Beech-Nut Lab Tested
Award CriteriaAwarded products’ levels rank within the top 33% of Clean Label Project’s prior baby food testing data, regardless of their absolute levels of heavy metals & metalloids.

Source: Clean Label Project Code of Practice

Beech-Nut baby food

Organic Jars

Explore our USDA certified organic baby food jars that provide families with delicious and high-quality ingredients.

Naturals winner babycenter award

Awards & Reviews

See our prestigious awards and 5-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews from families who trust our products to feed their little ones.

Our Gentle Cooking Process

The Gentle CookingTM puree process we use for our Organics & Naturals jars helps to preserve ingredients’ nutrients, textures, colors and flavors.