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Gerber and Walmart Face Lawsuits Alleging Liability for Baby Food Tainted with Toxic Metals

11/18/2021
Mass Torts
BY

A recent lawsuit filed against Gerber, a well-known baby food giant, is the most recent of dozens of lawsuits alleging baby foods expose infants and children to very high levels of lead that greatly exceed acceptable levels. The baby foods at issue in the California lawsuit are Gerber’s sweet potato, carrot, and pea combination food, and Gerber’s sweet potato, apple, and cinnamon combination food. The lawsuit comes on the heels of another proposed class action filed in September 20201 against Walmart in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The proposed class action against Walmart alleges Walmart made representations about the safety of the baby food the company sells to consumers which failed to reveal the existence or concentrations of toxic heavy metals within the food.

Congressional Report Reveals Widespread Baby Food Contamination

Baby food has been the subject of controversy all year following a February 2021 congressional report, as well as a September 2021 follow-up report, that detail how numerous baby foods, including organic versions, contain high levels of heavy metals, arsenic, and pesticides. Gerber is certainly not the only company in the spotlight following the damning congressional report.

The other companies who have allegedly sold and marketed tainted baby food include the following:

  • Nurture Inc., which sells organic baby food under the brand name HappyBABY
  • Beech-Nut
  • Gerber
  • Hain Celestial Group, Inc., which sells organic baby food under the brand name Earth’s Best Organics
  • Campbell Soup Company, which sells organic baby food under the brand name Plum Organics
  • Walmart, Inc, which sells baby food under the brand name Parent’s Choice
  • Sprout Foods, Inc.

The most frustrating part of the baby food contamination debacle is that most of the brands at issue market and sell what is supposed to be “organic” baby food, which suggests they should be healthier. The congressional report found that high levels of inorganic heavy metals were found in the finished products of organic baby foods. Many companies only test the ingredients for heavy metals and not the finished product.

Because of the discovery that parents have been feeding their babies food with dangerously high levels of toxins, Congress is seeking greater oversight of the baby food industry, along with the involvement of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some baby food manufacturers, seeing the writing on the wall, stopped selling infant rice cereal after the first congressional report, including Beech-Nut’s recall of its Single Gran Rice Cereal and Walmart’s recall of its Parent’s Choice infant rice cereal.

In April 2021, the FDA announced a “Closer to Zero” program, setting timelines for the FDA to establish maximum levels of lead, inorganic arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. The program proposes to finalize limits in 2024. In response, the September 2021 follow-up congressional report recommended the FDA accelerate its timelines. Consumer Reports additionally called on baby food companies to suspend sales of their infant rice cereals. Additionally, in October 2021, 23 Attorneys General petitioned the FDA to take stronger and more swift action than what has been set forth in the “Closer to Zero” program. If the FDA does not act, this petition could result in lawsuits from the Attorneys General.

What Injuries Are Associated with Contaminated Baby Food?

Injuries associated with exposure to high levels of toxic heavy metals and other contaminants include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • IQ loss
  • Attention deficits
  • Autism
  • Learning and behavior issues

Injuries resulting from the consumption of contaminated baby food are permanent, creating a difficult path for some babies who are severely affected. Because lawsuits continue to pile up, parents hope that Congress and the FDA will begin to promote transparency and place limits on the level of contaminants that can be safely present in baby foods.

Contact a Baby Food Contamination Lawyer Today for a Free Case Evaluation

Baby foods contaminated with heavy metals can cause serious harm to infants. If your baby consumed baby food and you believe exposure to these toxins may have caused your baby injuries, you may find guidance by speaking with a baby food contamination lawyer.

At Searcy Denney, we handle a wide variety of injury claims, including claims that allege defective products have caused harm to innocent consumers. Our product liability lawyers are standing by to provide you with a free case evaluation. Contact our office today to learn more by calling  (800) 780-8607 or by completing a free case evaluation form on our website.

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