Gerber Baby Food and Number 7 Plastics

Filed Under Bisphenol-A, FAQ 

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babyfoodWhen I started all this research business last fall I remember sitting in my mother in-laws house watching my sister in-law feed my little 6 month old niece. What should have been a peaceful act of watching my adorable niece eat Gerber pears suddenly turned to an internal question seminar when I glanced at the bottom of the Gerber plastic container. There was that #7 recycling symbol that I had been reading so much about lately. With all this BPA information fresh in my mind I immediately started to think about all the times I fed my son Gerber baby food from those handy 2 pack containers.

Later I was asked to participate on a phone call with EWG’s Sonya Lunder (read about that here) about their latest report on Bisphenol-A in baby formula. Since they were so knowledgeable on the subject I took the opportunity to ask has about baby food containers, specifically Gerber. She said she had talked with Gerber about that very thing.

The #7 recycling symbol, from what I’ve read many times over, is a “catch all” number. When a plastic is labelled with this number it typically means there are more than one type of plastic used. Sometimes there is BPA in it. Sometimes there isn’t. Researchers suggest avoiding #7 since there is no way to know if there is BPA in it or not unless you speak directly to the company.

In the case of Gerber, the plastic used for the baby food containers is made with a combination of #1 and #2 plastics. (see correction below) This being a combination of plastic lands the completed product in the #7 territory. In this case, there is no Bisphenol-A in the Gerber plastic baby food containers. Sonya Lunder confirmed that for me when we spoke, as well as a reader who wrote to me recently to say that she called Gerber directly. They assured her that both the baby food packs and their breastmilk storage bags (both labelled #7) are in fact BPA Free. (Thanks Kelly!)

It’s still safe to say that avoiding #7 (along with #3 and #6) plastics is a good rule of thumb since we don’t always know what materials are in #7 plastics. But if you have a product you use frequently and want to check it out, call the company and ask.

Correction Update: May 4, 2008 – After getting some conflicting information regarding the plastic used in these container’s I wanted to clarify what I’ve learned.  Gerber baby food plastic containers are made with #1 (Polyethylene or PET) and #6 (Polystyrene or PS) layered plastic, according to Gerber reps.  Not the #1 and #2 combination I was told initially, They told us that the inner layer is Polyethylene and the outer layer is the Polystyrene.  Gerber assured us that no food comes in contact with Polystyrene in the packaging and they said they are 100% BPA Free containers.  This information has been confirmed by a number of us here at Safe Mama.  We called and harassed Gerber numerous time to ensure that the information we were given was the same each time we called.  If you have any reservations about their packaging, we encourage you to call them yourself.  They have a very good hot line that is open 24/7 on their website.

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on February 26, 2008


18 Responses to “Gerber Baby Food and Number 7 Plastics”

  1. Liz Smith on February 27th, 2008 2:59 am

    Thank you so much for filling us in about the Gerber babyfood. I’m trying to give my son as much organic food as possible. I started to wonder about the plastic containers Gerber used for their babyfood. I was comparing Earth’s Best to Gerber Organic Babyfood and wondered why one was in plastic and the other in a glass jar. Then, a friend emailed me about harmful plastics and that really got me wondering. I found your website and was immediately hooked. Then I looked at the Gerber babyfood containers in my kitchen and saw the 7. Yikes, I wondered. What is up with that? Then, today (the very next day) I noticed your article. WOW! Thanks again.

  2. Z Recommends on February 27th, 2008 10:36 pm

    Thanks for being on top of this! We just corrected it in the Z Report on BPA – I think we had it right in our last edition, but this time around made a general statement about their food packaging which failed to distinguish between their jarred food (which, sadly, does have BPA in the jar lids) and their plastic containers.

    About calling the company: We second that emotion! No one should be afraid to call and harrass a customer service rep that a company can’t be bothered to clarify on their packaging…

    We especially love Gerber because they staff their customer service line with very knowledgeable folks literally around the clock, even on weekends – a 24/7 full-on customer service desk. Yay Gerber!

  3. Rak on February 28th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Dear safemama,
    I wanted to add something more Pediasure which i used to give my son is also come in plastic bottles which is made of #7 plastic

  4. The Fascinating World of Resin and Recycle Codes on Plastic Containers. « Serendipity Soap Dish on March 5th, 2008 4:29 am

    […] I’ve also started looking at my food bottles to see what resin code things are made out of. SafeMama checked and found resin number 7 on her Gerber baby food container. In her case, it ended up being 7 because it was a mix of 1 & 2 resins, not because it […]

  5. AJ on March 5th, 2008 9:57 pm

    yeah, we noticed that when the whole bottle news started breaking. even the organic food is in that plastic. we switched to glass jars right away.

  6. Kathy on March 5th, 2008 10:06 pm

    @AJ: Please note that many times there is BPA in the lining of the cap on glass jars.

  7. Are All #7 Plastics Toxic? « The Soft Landing Baby Blog on March 8th, 2008 12:12 am

    […] five gallon reusable water bottles, some citrus juice and ketchup bottles.  This is also where the Gerber Graduates Baby Food and the Baby Bjorn Plate and Spoon fall.  May appear as #7 […]

  8. workout mommy on March 15th, 2008 12:47 am

    I’m so glad you found this out for us! I’m just starting my youngest on solids and was very nervous about all the plastics. Thanks! Great site, I will be back! :)

  9. CanCan on April 3rd, 2008 3:00 am

    I stopped using the Gerber foods b/c I assumed the #7 plastic was bad. I’m glad to see that they are safe, and I hope that the same is true for their toddler juice single serving size bottles.

  10. Freezing Homemade Baby Food in #7 Gerber Plastic Containers on April 9th, 2008 12:50 am

    […] would like to direct you to the SafeMama blog post about Gerber Containers & #7 plastic.   Kathy at SafeMama has done a wonderful job of explaining the #7 in Gerber […]

  11. BPA free bottles and sippy cups « Family Health & Parenting on April 11th, 2008 4:25 pm

    […] Gerber Breastmilk Storage Bags […]

  12. Trisha on April 14th, 2008 11:38 pm

    I contacted Gerber on this on 2 occassions and they indicated to me that their containers were made of #2 and #6, NOT #1 and #2 as you state. Someone else on my blog also called and they told her the same thing — #2 and #6. #6 is one that you want to avoid!! I wanted to let you know because it seems that somewhere there is some confusion. And it seems to be on Gerber’s end if your information also came from them.


  13. Nicola on April 23rd, 2008 10:10 am

    Has anyone heard about Gerber sippy cups?

  14. Sherry on April 23rd, 2008 6:33 pm

    I have called Gerber and they disclosed the following:
    #2 POLYETHYLENE used in the inside of the plastic baby food containers
    #6 POLYSTYRENE used only on the outside coating,it will not leach in,according to them
    #1 used in sealing the aluminum lid to the container.
    Another interesting fact is the Gerber Gentle Flow bottle,the wide one,without BPA will fit the Avent nipples.Avent bottles have BPA ,but the nipples on them do not,to my knowledge.

  15. Medinary: on April 25th, 2008 5:52 pm

    […] sealants, CD’s, DVD’s, eyeglasses, and some food cans. Typically, these containers are number 7 plastics (check the bottom of the container). In America, a U.S. company stopped production of a certain […]

  16. jamie on April 28th, 2008 4:31 pm

    Thank you for this! I rarely use gerber so, it hasn’t been an issue before this morning. I picked up a 2 pack of apples & cherries for my DD to mix with her cereal. I was mortified AFTER I finished deeding her when I saw the “7” on the bottom of the package! I had warmed up it in the micro and everything….gaaah! I thought “how could they say ok to microwave when it’s a 7???!!!” While I’m still not completely convinced it’s ok to do, I’m not freaking out like I was at first. Why would they use a 7 anyway? hmm

  17. Jen on May 3rd, 2008 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the article. I take my son to daycare 3x/wk and they do not allow glass containers so I buy Gerber’s organics. When I started researching what the #7 recycle symbol meant I was shocked to see baby food in #7 containers.

    I am relieved that Gerber places their food in bpa free containers. This will cut down on my prep time of opening an organic glass baby food jar and then dumping it into a bpa free plastic container for daycare.


  18. Lorianne on May 5th, 2008 3:37 am

    My family was prette freaked out by the BPA thing too! It’s a good thing that I am breastfeeding. I am also relieved that the storage bags are BPA free.

    Has anyone heard about the Gerber manual breast pump containing BPA? They also use the #7 plastic (which is clearly indicated on the bottom of the bottle but not anywhere else) on their pumps. Any news?

    Thanks for all the great info about BPA!