- On March 9, 2021, plaintiffs in 43 lawsuits over toxic metal contamination in baby foods filed a motion asking for the cases to be consolidated in New York federal court.
- On Feb. 11, 2021, Beech-Nut was hit with another class action lawsuit by consumers in New York who claim the company misrepresented the heavy metals in their baby food.
- On Feb. 16, 2021, the FDA issued a response to the congressional report; however, the regulatory agency’s statement does not specifically address the companies or baby foods identified in the report.
After a congressional report revealed high levels of heavy toxic metal contamination in several brands of popular baby food, three class action lawsuits surfaced in New York, New Jersey, and California federal courts filed by consumers who say they were duped.
Since then, over 40 lawsuits have been lodged over the alleged contamination, including 38 proposed class actions, across the country. Plaintiffs filed a motion in March asking the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate the cases in the Eastern District of New York.
Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Plum Organics are accused of misleading consumers about the safety of the ingredients in their baby food by implying that the products undergo rigorous testing. The lawsuits cite a recent congressional report by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, that found many of the major baby food makers “contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury,” which can endanger an infant’s neurological development.
If you’ve bought baby food from a brand that is tainted with the toxic metals listed above, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit investigation. Lawyers will review your case for free.
The congressional report cited issues with the testing processes as well, reporting that the companies test the ingredients rather than the finished product.
FDA Aware of Toxic Elements in Baby Food
On Feb. 16, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration issued a response to the Congressional Report raising questions about toxic elements in popular baby foods; however, the agency’s statement did not specifically address the companies or products specified in the Congressional Report.
“Our goal is to reduce exposure to toxic elements in foods to the greatest extent feasible and to further advance progress in this area through more research and enhanced collaboration among stakeholders,” stated the agency which also noted that toxic elements are present in the environment, including in the soil and water and “cannot be completely avoided in the fruits, vegetables, or grains that are the basis for baby foods,” even through the use of organic farming practices.
The FDA noted in its statement that it has been working on the issue of toxic elements in baby foods. The agency claims it monitors baby foods through its compliance program and, should a food manufacturer be found in violation of FDA regulations, court action would be taken to stop the sale and recall affected products.
The FDA points out that the agency’s sampling of infant rice cereal for arsenic has demonstrated that manufacturers have made progress in reducing the toxic substance in baby food. Further, the agency notes that it has forced companies to stop distributing products for continued violations of FDA regulations as recently as January of this year.
Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Plum Organics Baby Food Contaminated With Toxic Metals
Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed against Gerber, take issue with the baby food giant, which makes up about 80 percent of the market, touting itself as a trusted name, despite allegedly selling contaminated baby food products. The Gerber class action lawsuit seeks to represent a nationwide Class of consumers who purchased the baby food, along with Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas subclasses.
The Beech-Nut class action lawsuit points to the baby food’s packaging that claims the products were “100% Natural” and tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
“Defendant asserts that its foods are ‘real food for babies,’ that its foods are tested for heavy metals, and that defendant is ‘aware of no higher standards in the industry than the ones we employ,’ in direct contradiction to the true nature of its contents, which include, but are not limited to, heavy metals and/or perchlorate,” contends the lawsuit.
The Beech-Nut plaintiffs also seek to represent a nationwide Class, along with consumers in Iowa, Illinois, California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Florida.
Campbell Soup, the maker of Plum Organics baby food, has also been named in a class action lawsuit over the toxic contamination. The plaintiff claims that she and other consumers reasonably expected the Plum Organics baby food they purchased to be free of toxins with known dangerous health consequences.
On Feb. 11, 2021, Beech-Nut was served another class action lawsuit by consumers in New York taking issue with heavy metals being in their baby food. The plaintiffs say the company acted recklessly by intentionally mislabeling the products.
“Parents like Plaintiff trust manufacturers like Defendant to sell baby food that is safe, nutritious, and free from harmful toxins, contaminants, and chemicals,” the lawsuit states. “They certainly expect the food they feed their infants and toddlers to be free from Heavy Metals and Perchlorate, substances known to have significant and dangerous health consequences.”
This new Beech-Nut class action lawsuit shares the same sentiments as the trio of lawsuits already filed that condemn the company’s use of the phrase “real food for babies.”
“Defendant’s claims that the Contaminated Baby Foods were healthy, nutritious, ‘real food for babies,’ and safe baby foods as promised were untrue or misleading because such claims failed to disclose that the Contaminated Baby Foods instead had a risk of and/or actual inclusion of Heavy Metals and Perchlorate, including levels that exceed FDA and EPA guidance.”
The parents claim they would never have bought or paid so much for the products if they knew its true ingredients.
The baby food manufacturers have maintained that their products are safe, reportedly issuing statements asserting the safety and quality of their baby foods.
Have you bought Gerber, Beech-Nut, or Plum Organics baby food products? Are you concerned about the congressional report of baby foods contaminated with toxic metal? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below or click here to join a baby food class action lawsuit.
The Gerber plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan Shub and Kevin Laukaitis of Shub Law Firm LLC, Gary E. Mason, Gary M. Klinger, and Danielle Perry of Mason Lietz & Klinger LLP, and Charles E. Schaffer of Levin Sedran & Berman LLP.
The Beech-Nut plaintiffs are represented by Kevin Landau and Miles Greaves of Taus Cebulash & Landau LLP, Daniel E. Gustafson, Amanda M. Williams, Raina C. Borrelli, and Mary M. Nikolai of Gustafson Gluek PLLC, Kenneth A. Wexler, and Kara A. Elgersma of Wexler Wallace LLP, and Simon B. Paris and Patrick Howard of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC, Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca LLP, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P, Lite Depalma Greenberg LLC.
The representative for the Plum Organics plaintiff was not available.
The Baby Food Toxic Metal Contamination Class Action Lawsuits are Shepard et al v. Gerber Products Company, Case No. 2:21-cv-01977, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; Laurie Thomas et al v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Co., Case No. unknown, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York; and Gulkarov et al. v. Plum, Case No. 3:21-cv-00913 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Laura Peek v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Case No. 1:21-cv-00167-TJM-ML, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
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