Nothing But the Best for My Kids
It was mid-morning, and my son was still hungry after devouring his 8 ounces of Enfamil Gentlease.
He's 4 months old now, which means he can enjoy some Stage 1 baby food several times a day. Stage 1 is generally limited to apples, pears, carrots, and peas- although I have found a few awesome blends from Ella's Kitchen. Max's favorite is the package that contains a delicious puree of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apple, and blueberries. Yum.
His other favorite is the First Bananas, made by Earth's Best. I'm kind of a health nut (okay, maybe "kind of" is the understatement of the century), so I tend to stick with organic, all natural food when it comes to feeding myself and my family. Earth's Best is an organic brand that I felt safe buying for my son.
But it Wasn't Safe...
Unless you consider a fluffy patch of white mold on top of the banana mixture to be safe.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), moldy food is definitely NOT safe. The exception is when you're eating a food that is supposed to be moldy, such as blue cheese or Brie.
So what are the side effects of eating moldy food? Respiratory problems and allergic reactions are two of the most common side effects. Some types of mold can cause cancer, liver damage, or even death.
So What Type of Mold Was in My Son's Baby Food?
I'm not a scientist, so I can't identify the mold.
However, I did some research on different types of mold. Most of the information I found was about meat and fresh produce. I did find some facts on jellies and jams, which is what I'm assuming would be similar to baby food.
What I found made me pretty upset. Several sites said that when jams and jellies have mold inside of them, they usually contain mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are poisonous and can make you very, very sick. Several forms of cancer, including liver cancer, has been linked to mycotoxins.
Can you imagine how much more upset I'd be right now if I had fed my adorable 4 month old son a jar full of toxic mold that could have caused long-term side effects?
The Jar of Moldy Earth's Best Baby Food
How Could This Have Happened?
How did mold end up in my son's jar of Earth's Best First Bananas baby food?
According to Captain Dave, a popular blogger, mold in canned food is rare. When mold is found in canned food, the cause is "either a flaw in the procedure you used, or something affected the jar or can after the fact to break its seal".
He goes on to explain that there are a few different times during the canning process where an error can cause mold. Mold can grow in the empty jar after it is taken out of boiling water. Errors during the waxing process used to seal a jar can also give mold an opportunity to take over your food.
How did Earth's Best React to the News?
I contacted Earth's Best via email on April 19, 2011. Today is May 1, 2011. I received a confirmation that my email was sent, so I'm pretty sure they got it.
Moldy baby food is a serious issue. You'd think they would have responded immediately, but 12 days later and I still haven't received an email, letter, or phone call back.
When your company sells me moldy baby food, I expect an apology. A refund would be nice too, but I at least needed an apology.
I am shocked and disappointed that a respected company like Earth's Best doesn't care about the health of my son. I always thought that organic companies cared more about their customers than non-organic companies. I was obviously very wrong.
What Do I Plan to Do About the Moldy Baby Food?
I'm not sure yet.
I've heard that I can take legal action against Earth's Best, but I'm hesitant to do that. However, they need to take action immediately and make sure no other products are contaminated.
It's important to know that mold isn't always visible to the naked eye. Just because I was able to see the mold on top of my son's food doesn't mean that everybody will notice it.
I've started making homemade baby food for now. Yesterday, Max had a mashed up banana mixed with applesauce. He loved it, and I knew it was safe because I made it myself.
All companies make mistakes, but moldy food is a big one. Earth's Best needs to rectify this situation immediately.
In the meantime, I'll be editing all of the previous articles I wrote about them. I used to love Earth's Best, and have quite a few articles and reviews promoting their food.
If you're a mom or dad, be careful. Pay attention to what you feed your child. I never expected to find mold in an organic jar of baby food. I'll be watching everything even more closely than I already do from now on.
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Vanessa Runco on March 08, 2019:
I just opened stage 1 apples and it had black mold. Horrible!
natalie on August 20, 2014:
I just purchased peas from publix that were also earths best and once I was feeding it to my son I realized it was 5 months expired!
Elise on January 06, 2014:
This is not the first time i have heard this about Earth's best. if it was me i would sue them!
I have also heard of the same company having live maggots in their pouched baby foods! Be very aware of this company!
Angelica on March 12, 2012:
Its true what all this is sayin, its not an ordinary thing happenning here its real I mean I have a daughter that's gonna be 1 already and sges been eating gerber and I have found mold to but it was around the top like a brown color of mold. At first I thought it was maybe from the heat are maybe the experation date was wrong and until this day I still get that colored mold but not from the organic brand the gerber brand. Should I be really concerned, because if so we really got to step up and chamge this issue specially for our kids safety in life.
jenntyl99 from Pennsylvania on February 10, 2012:
Your story (and others like it) is one of the reasons why I decided against buying baby food. Aside from it being expensive, baby food has many other issues that would make a parent concerned. In fact, wasn't it this summer when they found glass in some of Gerber's Bananas? When I had my daughter, we invested in the baby bullet system and although it was rather expensive (@ $60) it was well worth the investment. We could easily make her baby food based on what we were eating and choose to freeze or place in the refrigerator (using the containers it comes with). However, I have found that this was not even the most beneficial thing about doing it this was. Of all 4 of my kids, my youngest (who is the one referenced here) is my best eater. She eats nearly everything offered to her and even eats more than my 6 year old. I attribute this to us making her baby food rather than butying it.
davesnell from 5437 Cedarmint Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28227 on February 06, 2012:
Well mold are quite dangerous, especially to the children. As for my concerned, jarred food shouldn't be kept too long. Finish before it got spoiled.
And Max Looks really Cute !!!!
Brenda on October 03, 2011:
Hi, I just found your post as I was searching for anything on mold in Earth's Best baby food...I had an incident with their jarred spinach & potatoes yesterday. I have to mention that it was my 2nd!! incident ~ a few weeks ago I found 2 live mealworms crawling around in my baby's rice cereal. They sent me coupons and an apology letter. Then, this past weekend we were out of town so I bought a few jars of food (I normally make homemade). When i opened the spinach & potatoes, I noticed that it had white fuzzy mold around the edges and that the food itself seemed to have 'risen' and had cracks in it. I took pictures, then when I pressed on it with a spoon, I found it to be completely solid & had the exact texture of a sponge. When pressed, a clear liquid oozed out of the 'sponge'. It was disgusting...I took pictures of that as well. Its very scary; I don't really know what was wrong with that jar of food. Expiration wasn't until 2013. I will NEVER feed my baby Earth's Best again, no matter how may free coupons they send me. I think I'll report the incidents to the FDA.
KC Santiago from Texas on August 26, 2011:
To start, very beautiful child!
My kids are grown now but should I ever be blessed with grandkids I will make their baby food.
JanuaryFry from Illinois on August 09, 2011:
Your article makes me glad that I decided not to use jarred baby food. My daughter was breastfed, so I didn't feel the need to start solids until she was bit older. At around 7 months I started with mashed avocado and then moved forward with other fruits and veggies that I could prep easily. Glad you caught sight of the mold when you did. Ugh!
ournote2self on August 03, 2011:
Yikes. Good thing you saw the mold before you fed it to your adorable son!
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on June 25, 2011:
Vanessa, did somebody say they were taking legal action in the article? I looked through the comments, but didn't see anything. I'm assuming if anybody said they were taking legal action, it's probably just because they were upset and caught in the moment. It's easy to get angry when you realize that you almost fed a small child moldy food.
Also, I don't think that canned or jarred foods should be more prone to mold. From my understanding, the mold in any jar of food is caused by errors in the manufacturing process - not because the food is organic. I'm not a scientist, though; that's just what I've been taught.
SophiesMom- Nope, definitely not half empty. We didn't use any of the baby food. Most jars are not filled to the very top - at least not the brands I buy. It's kind of like when you buy a giant bag of chips, and it's only half full. The product is thin and runny, so it kind of tilted to the side when I took the photo where I was holding it. You can tell it's full by looking at the other photo - the space you see is where the jar curves in so that the lid fits properly.
SophiesMom on June 25, 2011:
It looks like the jar is half empty!?!
Vanessa on June 25, 2011:
Organic foods are more prone to mold because they don't contain as many preservatives. I'm shocked that others are shocked by this. I think taking legal action is a bit extreme.
jess on June 22, 2011:
hi, i found same thing i have a photo-- yet way worse, same brand. i went to grab jar and saw what looked like black hair outside the jar--- i then opened it and was so disgusted that i haven't been able to eat.
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on June 18, 2011:
Great and good job you did in here which shows that your are really observant.
ajc_80 from Northwest Ohio on June 10, 2011:
Oh, that is disgusting. I make most of my daughter's baby food, but I bought a jar of pears and sweet potatoes just in case I wanted to grab and go for being out at a restaurant or something. Here I thought I was buying the best option if she had to having processed baby food. I don't even know if I will feed her the two jars we have now.
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 31, 2011:
Oh, and it looks like Earth's Best had to recall baby food in the past due to the threat of botulism: http://www.pritzkerlaw.com/botulism-baby-food/
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 31, 2011:
I noticed that Earth's Best First Bananas is unavailable from the company's website. Maybe they're investigating the claims? Hopefully. They can't keep selling moldy food to babies. That's terrible.
WallStickerDecals from US on May 25, 2011:
I am using this for my baby food!
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 24, 2011:
Thanks for the comments about moldy baby food, guys. Adam, please let us know what happened at your baby's appointment. I hope he was okay.
mabmiles on May 24, 2011:
d_mckenna925 on May 23, 2011:
That is so scary. I usually feed my son Earth's Best. You generally don't expect jarred food to have mold in it. Most mornings when I feed my son breakfast I'm still half a sleep and just mix it up without really inspecting it. This is definitely an eye opener.
Adam S on May 15, 2011:
Just opened the same product (which doesn't expire until 2013) and had the exact same mold issue. Unfortunately I didn't notice the mold until our Son ate a good portion of the jar. I'm sick about it and the Earth's Best hotline is closed on weekends. Does anyone have any information about possible medical issues I need to be concerned about either immediately or long term? Obviously going to the Dr. first thing tomorrow.
Dawn Conklin from New Jersey, USA on May 06, 2011:
Wow!! I am so glad you saw the mold and he did not get any of it. That is crazy, it is great that you wrote this hub to make people aware of what could happen. My youngest is now 5 but we used to buy the regular baby food (not organic) when we actually bought the baby food. I always tried giving them our food but mashed when I could. Some things are not bland enough for a baby tho. Really with any food you have a chance of something, it is just really scary when it is in baby food. I wish you the best with your little guy, I would try to continue mashing the real food for him for now except for the baby cereal. Baby oatmeal is a lot finer then our oatmeal. Your son is adorable!
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 05, 2011:
I just wanted to update and let you guys know that I finally received a response from Earth's Best today. Here's what the email said:
"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Bananas. We apologize for the delay in our reply and appreciate your patience. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and we appreciate your patronage.
Thank you for providing your valued feedback concerning your issue with this product. Your specific experience has been reported to our Quality Assurance Team.
In appreciation of the time you took to contact us, we have mailed product coupons to the address provided in your original email. Please allow 10 business days for first class US mail delivery.
In order to address possible product issues, if you still have the product packaging in your possession, we ask that you include the "best by" date code, including any letters or numbers that follow it, as well as the UPC code - the numbers below the bar code.
As one of our valued customers, your satisfaction is very important to us and we will share your comments with our Leadership Team. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-434-4246, Monday through Friday from 7AM - 5PM Mountain Time."
I'm glad they finally responded, but I don't really appreciate the generic response. I would have liked an apology for the mold, not just the delay. Oh well. Whatever. They can keep their coupons. I won't be buying their mold-filled baby food anytime in the near future.
I also reported them to the FDA. When I did, I noticed that they've had other complaints in the past. My son is gnawing on my keyboard, but maybe I'll come back and elaborate later.
janie1 on May 04, 2011:
HI SUNNYGLITTER, I JUST READ YOUR HUB AND I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT JARS OF BABY FOOD TOO. USUALLY I WOULD MAKE MY SONS(8 MONTHS) FOOD, BUT I STARTED BUYING HIM THE ORGANIC BRAND. I WAS GIVING IT TO HIM FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS WHEN I NOTICED THAT IT HAD GIVEN HIM AN ULCER UNDER HIS TONGUE. MY HUSBAND THINKS IT COULD have been FROM TOO MUCH SUGAR IN THOSE JARS OF BABY FOOD.
BABIES DON'T NEED SUGAR. SO NOW WE QUICKLY WENT BACK TO MAKING HIS FOOD.
SaMcNutt from Englewood, CO on May 04, 2011:
Any processed food has a certain amount of danger because it can be shelved for awhile, even if you didn't see the mold, which is good you did. I think the best way is making it yourself with organic goods, because you have more control over the enviroment. I hope you do challenge them because it is a serious issue that needs attention.
eclecticeducation on May 04, 2011:
Oh wow! I am so glad you saw that before your son ate it. How frightening.
Nichol marie from The Country-Side on May 04, 2011:
eww gotta make sure that i am looking at the next jars for my baby girl
LaurenLL on May 03, 2011:
Thanks for information. I am glad and enjoyed to read.
Jean Bakula from New Jersey on May 02, 2011:
My son is a young adult now, so I don't know about baby food. But he is a vegetarian and eats mostly organic foods. They rot very quickly and have a short shelf life because they have no preservatives. I know preservatives are nasty, so but so is moldy food, and it causes alot of waste. Plus organic food costs double the price. I would just mash organic bananas or cook and make my own baby food in a food processor. Some women freeze the little portions in ice cube trays. Earth's Best should at least try to give you a gift cert, which you could use for safe stuff, maybe cereal. They really should try to make it up to you in some way.
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 02, 2011:
Sorry you had to go through that, Mama Em! Hopefully we both have better luck in the future with the food that we buy for our kids.
mama_em on May 01, 2011:
So gross! The food was a different company that makes organic food called Nativa made for Shopper's Drug Mart Canada.
Sunnyglitter (author) from Cyberspace on May 01, 2011:
Thanks, Mama Em! Oh my, that's disgusting. I didn't realize how common it is for people to find mold in their baby food. Was it the same company, or a different one?
mama_em on May 01, 2011:
Great post - way to raise awareness! I make all of my own baby food except for the pureed meat because I can't get it to the right consistency. Like you, I recently purchased some Organic Turkey and Sweet Potato in a jar and when the lid clicked open the food was bulging out and rotten. Gross and dangerous but I called the company and they seemed to take it very seriously.