Class Action Over Heavy Metals Found in Baby Foods

Several baby food brands are in legal hot water and facing forming consumer class actions after heavy metals have been detected in their baby food products. News of the potentially dangerous baby food first became widespread after the U.S. House of Representatives Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee issues a report in early February 2021.

Baby food companies that were listed in the report are:

  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
  • Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics)
  • Gerber
  • Hain Celestial Group (Earth’s Best Organic)
  • Nurture Inc. (Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY)
  • Sprout Foods
  • Walmart (Parent’s Choice)

Notably, only Nurture Inc., Beech-Nut Nutrition Co., Hain Celestial Group, and Gerber provided the congressional subcommittee information about its baby food products for the report. The others did not, which has placed them on the list until information is provided that proves that their products are not potentially contaminated by heavy metals.

Four heavy metals detected in the baby food products are:

  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium

How Dangerous are the Contaminated Baby Foods?

None of the baby foods in question so far have exceeded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) daily exposure limit to the aforementioned heavy metals. However, the congressional subcommittee still found grounds to be concerned that infants who regularly ate the baby food could have unexpected adverse reactions since the daily exposure or intake limit generally applies to healthy adults. As such, it was determined that baby food regulations need to be updated to prevent future products from containing the same levels of potentially dangerous heavy metals.

The FDA has not ordered any mandatory to take potentially contaminated baby food products off shelves. The decision or lack thereof has made it difficult for parents to know what products they should avoid as the situation is further investigated. For the time being, the FDA has told parents that avoiding rice-based baby foods is a good first step.

How Did Heavy Metals Get in Baby Food?

The leading theory at this time is that the same process that adds vitamins to baby foods also inadvertently adds heavy metals. There is also the belief that rice in certain baby foods could be contributing to the detectable levels of arsenic in some brands. As rice grows in water, it is natural for soil-derived arsenic to absorb into it, which does not always dissipate as it grows and is harvested.

Class Actions for Contaminated Baby Foods

Gerber and Plum Organics were the first two baby food companies to be hit with class actions after the Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee report was made public. In those complaints, it is alleged that both companies failed to report the potential for heavy metals in their baby foods, making them professionally negligent. Going further, plaintiffs in the class action against Gerber alleged the company took steps to deceptively conceal information about the presence of heavy metals in their products.

For more information about this developing situation, you can click here to view a full article from USA Today. If you need help joining a class action against Gerber, Plum, or another baby food company, then contact Golomb & Honik, P.C. From our law office in Philadelphia, we handle consumer class action lawsuits nationwide, so anyone can reach out to our firm for assistance.

Note: As with many consumer class actions regarding dangerous or contaminated products, it is likely that you can join a class action against a baby food company even if your child was never negatively affected by eating baby food. You could be eligible to join the class just by having purchased one of the brands in question. We can help you understand your options in detail.

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