Friday, April 15, 2011

The Problem with Tuna Oil in Gerber's Organic Baby Food

I am a huge fan of fish oil for brain development and well aware of the benefits of supplementation with omega 3's. It is because of my intense interest in omega 3s that I am shocked and appalled that Gerber would put TUNA OIL in their organic babyfood. While omega 3's do so much to help development of children, tuna oil is the LAST source I would use to increase omega 3's. All the articles I read about fish oil and all the doctors I consulted unanimously have recommended the safest place to get omega 3s from were small fish that were low in the food chain and less likely to be contaminated with mercury. High quality, safe fish oil sources routinely say they are made with fish like anchovies and sardines which would contain less mercury.

According to a 2004 report by the FDA titled What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish:

"Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methylmercury.

According to a 2005 article in The Herald Tribune:

"Making choices about canned tuna based on mercury risk is complicated because not all tuna species contain the same amount of the toxic metal, which can harm children's developing brains and cause neurological problems in adults.

Albacore tuna is a big fish and therefore tends to have higher mercury levels. The government has warned young children and pregnant women to limit how much albacore they eat."

More recently, in January 2011, Consumer Reports warned that

"Canned tuna, especially white, tends to be high in mercury, and younger women and children should limit how much they eat. As a precaution, pregnant women should avoid tuna entirely."

Below is a list of some of the Gerber products that contain Tuna Oil. The list goes on and on! Gerber makes 37 products that contain Tuna Oil and many of these are organic products which are marketed to be high in DHA.

I would avoid these products and not be fooled by the organic label. Tuna Oil is not something you want to feed a baby. If you want to supplement with fish oil, I would choose a product like Nordic Naturals or Carlson's that is third party certified to be tested as free of mercury and that is made of smaller fish like anchovies and sardines.

Here is the list of some of the Gerber Products that contain Tuna Oil. Click on the link below and then Nutritional Info to get the ingredient list for each product.

GERBER DHA& Probiotic Cereal - Oatmeal
GERBER DHA& Probiotic Cereal -Rice
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Fruits-Apples
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Fruits-Bananas
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Fruits-Pears
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Fruits-Prunes
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Vegetables-Carrots
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Vegetables-Sweet Peas
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 1st FOODS Vegetables-Sweet Potatoes
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 2nd FOODS Fruit & Vegetable - Apple Sweet Potato

GERBER Organic SmartNourish 2nd Foods Fruits -Apple Strawberry
GERBER Organic SmartNourish 2nd Foods Fruits -Apple

Related posts on the importance of fish oil and healthy, safe sources...
Omega 3's in Fish Oil
The Best Fish Oil for Kids
Flavoring Fish Oil for Kids


Anonymous said...

Yes! This is exactly what I thought when I saw tuna oil on Gerber's ingredient list. We have been using Earth's Best for our son, but recently found pieces of plastic in the Chicken and Rice and were shopping for other options. I want to post a big sign on this stuff in the grocery store so everyone will know. Unfortunately most people don't read ingredients. They just see the marketing on the front that says "brain and eye development" and trust. Then thirty years later we all shake our heads and say "Can you believe they used to put tuna oil in baby food?" It's such a stupid, fallen world we live in. Clinging to Jesus is the only answer! Thank you for what you're doing to educate the public.

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What A Dish! said...

I hate that they do this. I try to make my own but I also use store-bought about half the time. I live overseas military, and there are no other organic storebought options. It really stinks. I can't believe they'd use TUNA oil, of all things!!!

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Barbara Ewart said...

Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with tuna oil in baby foods. WWJD is not applicable to everything!

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Mom of 2 said...

I stopped buying Gerber a while ago for my kids. I thought this was the ultimate food for my picky eater until I discovered almost everything is made with high fructose corn syrup.

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Anonymous said...

I usually never post comments on forums like this, but I feel the need to do so in case other mothers like me were worried to death about speculative comments being made regarding infant food. Gerber has a 24/7 hotline phone number: 1-800 284-9488, stated clearly on their website.
I called this number which was promptly answered. The representative said that the tuna oil in the food is obtained from wild caught fish in the South and Central Pacific. They do not use tuna livers, but offcuts of the filets. The oil is separated by centrifugation, and subsequently highly refined. The level of mercury is strictly regulated. Gerber will only accept a level of mercury which is 0.01 ppm or less, apparently, this level is lower than the FDA guidelines. So, I agree that this is a surprising source of DHA, but the levels of mercury are tested.

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Anonymous said...

I decided to try gerbers organic bananas for my baby when he was beginning to eat baby food. I thought it would be ok since he had bananas multiple times previously with no problem. Well boy did I regret that my a few minutes after eating just a little bit he started to scream his eyes swelled to the point he couldn't see. So without a second thought we rushed him to the ER. His eyes remained swollen the crying continued and thank god as we got closer he started throwing it up. That seemed to help him. When the Dr checked him out I showed him the box the baby food was in and he said it had to be the tuna oil that caused it. Thankfully after he threw up all his food he was back to his normal self just tired from all that happened

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