Children's Food Project 2013-2014 Report

Executive Summary

The main objectives of the 2013-2014 Children's Food Project (CFP) were to:

  • assess the compliance status for pesticide residues in infant foods;
  • assess the level of veterinary drug residues in infant foods containing meat; and
  • collect data on chemical hazards in infant foods for use by Health Canada in health risk assessments of infant foods.

In the 2013-2014 CFP, a total of 204 pureed infant foods and juices (0-2 years) were purchased in the Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec areas. Samples were analyzed for pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, and metals. In total, 643 analytical tests were performed leading to over 92 000 individual results.

Two hundred and four samples of infant foods such as pureed fruits, pureed vegetables, juices, pureed fruit and vegetable combinations, and pureed infant food containing meat were tested for pesticide residues. There were 117 samples (57.3%) with no detectable levels and 87 samples with one or more pesticide residues detected. All pesticide residues detected were well below maximum residue limits established by Health Canada. Veterinary drug residues were not detected in any of the 49 infant food samples containing meat that were tested. The overall compliance rate of the pureed infant food samples tested for pesticide and veterinary drug residues was 100%.

There are few Canadian maximum levels established for metals in food. Metals of high toxicological importance to human health, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are the focus of our analysis and discussion. The concentrations of these metals in the food samples were assessed by Health Canada and were not expected to pose a concern to infant health.

Data obtained from studies like the CFP are useful in the assessment of the dietary exposure of Canadian children to pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, metals and other contaminants. The 2013-2014 CFP represents a snapshot of the nature of pesticide and veterinary drug residues and metals in the pureed infant foods available on the Canadian market.

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