How concerned do I really need to be with pesticides in my baby's foods?
When it comes to pesticides and baby food, it is most important to pay attention to results from the many ongoing studies that assess potential dietary pesticide exposure—including in baby foods. Now that's not to say that baby food poses a definite risk, but rather that since the early 1990s, there has been an increased awareness and concern that infants (as well as fetuses and young children) are at greater potential risk from pesticide exposure.
Knowing that it's parental nature to want to do everything it takes to protect our children, the risk of drawing conclusions from this concern about baby foods and pesticide exposure is that parents will be tempted to decrease the amounts of fruits and vegetables in their babies' diets. In fact, the members of the NAS Committee on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children found that the known dietary benefits of eating fruits and vegetables were much greater than any potential small risks from pesticide residues in the foods—a finding that was reaffirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and others. All told, it seems the consensus is that parents should continue to feed children more, rather than less, fruits and vegetables. If you choose to err on the side of caution, then pesticide-free organic foods—including baby food—are readily available. In case you're interested, you may also find the Food and Drug Administration's summary of their longstanding Total Diet Study a useful overview of the government's ongoing dietary pesticide study.