Challenges and Considerations When Balancing the Risks of Contaminants with the Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables for Infants and Toddlers

Nutrients. 2018 Oct 24;10(11):1572. doi: 10.3390/nu10111572.


Background: Fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy diet, particularly in children; however, parents may be concerned about contaminants found in fruits and vegetables. Making informed food choices for children requires understanding and balancing the risks of contaminant exposure with the importance of providing a healthy diet. The objective of this work is to identify fruits and vegetables commonly consumed by infants and toddlers; identify potential contaminants in fruits and vegetables; and outline considerations in assessing contaminant risks in food categories with a critical role in a healthy diet.

Method: Commonly consumed fruits and vegetables were obtained from the Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study (FITS 2016). The US Food and Drug Administration Total Diet Study was reviewed for contaminant occurrence, and multiple experts were consulted on considerations in assessing risk of certain contaminants.

Results: FITS data show eight fruits and nine vegetables account for over 80% of consumption in infants and toddlers. Several contaminants have been detected in fruits and vegetables. Questions to be addressed prior to establishing contaminant guidance were identified.

Conclusion: Contaminant guidance for fruits and vegetables consumed by infants and toddlers raises several challenges. Expertise from multiple disciplines is required to find an approach that maximizes public health benefit.

Keywords: baby food; complementary feeding; contaminants; nutrient intake; risk assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Food Contamination*
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pesticide Residues
  • United States
  • Vegetables*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Pesticide Residues

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