Nitrates in Baby Food

Archived Q&A and Reviews


From: Laurel (2/99)

I have been making baby food for my six-month-old baby since he started eating solids about a month ago. When I get my weekly organic veggies from The Box, I pick out some veggies and fruits, cook them, and freeze them in ice-cube trays for easy storage and re-heating. However, in my copy of _Caring for your Baby and Young Child_ by the AAP, it says not to home-prepare the following foods: beets, turnips, carrots, collard greens, and spinach. There's a blurb in the introducing solids part that says that these vegetables contain large amounts of nitrates, a chemical that can cause an unusual type of anemia in young infants. Baby-food companies are aware of this problem and screen the produce they buy for nitrates...Since you cannot test for this chemical yourself, it's safer to use commercially prepared forms of these foods...If you choose to prepare them at home anyway, serve them fresh and don't store them. Storage of these foods may actually increase the amount of nitrates in them. (page 211) I asked my son's pediatrician about this, and she said she didn't know anything about it. Sears and Sears doesn't mention it, either. I assume that since nitrates are naturally occurring in the soil, they'd affect organic as well as conventional vegetables. Has anyone heard of this nitrates issue? Ever since I read this, I've been feeling guilty any time I've fed him pureed carrots. Hoping someone can lend some insight,