Application Note

Determination of Toxic and Other Trace Elements in Baby Foods Using the NexION ICP-MS


For many children around the globe, commercial baby foods are the main source of nutrients and energy, and therefore their quality and safety are critical and must be monitored. In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the “Baby Food Safety Act of 2021” to regulate the presence of toxic elements in infant and toddler food products. Following this act, the U.S. FDA announced a ‘Closer to Zero’ action plan, which outlines the rollout plan that the agency will use over the next three years (and beyond) to reduce the toxic elements in foods eaten by babies and young children to as low levels as possible. As part of this program, the U.S. FDA has published an elemental analytical method by ICP-MS: Elemental Analysis Manual (EAM) 4.7, which includes the analysis of toxic and other trace elements commonly treated as nutrients.

This application note describes a procedure for the analysis of toxic elements (As, Cd, Hg, and Pb) and other trace elements (Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, Se, Mo, and Tl) in baby foods following U.S. FDA EAM 4.7 using the NexION 2000 ICP-MS, demonstrating the benefits of this solution, which include: the flexibility to use different gas modes to remove/mitigate spectral interferences; the improved sensitivity and detection limits achieved for elements, such as Cr and Mn, using Reaction mode with ammonia.