Baby Food Autism Lawsuit Filed Over “Staggering Amounts of Toxic Heavy Metals” in Beech-Nut and Gerber Brands

The complaint comes as all federal baby food lawsuits over the effects of toxic heavy metals have been consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings.

A Nevada woman has brought a baby food autism lawsuit against two major food manufacturers, indicating they sold products laden with toxic heavy metals that led to developmental problems for her child.

The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada late last month by Ashley Garcia, on behalf of herself and her minor child, identified only with the initials A.V., pursuing damages from Beech-Nut Nutrition Company and Gerber Products Company as defendants.

In 2021, a U.S. Congressional report ignited a firestorm of concerns over dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury found in a number of different popular baby foods, and nearly two years later reports suggest that toxic metals in baby food remain a pervasive problem, with high levels still found in popular brands sold by Gerber, Plum Organics, Sprout, Walmart and others.

Manufacturers of products found to contain high levels of these heavy metals already face hundreds of toxic baby food lawsuits, involving similar allegations that children developed autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and other side effects, and the scope of the litigation is expected to continue to expand in the coming years as more families discovery that heavy metals in baby food fed to their children may be the cause of life-long developmental problems.

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Baby Food Lawsuits

Toxic baby food sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut and other manufacturers contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, which may be the cause of autism and severe ADHD for children.

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Garcia’s lawsuit indicates her child was diagnosed with autism at about three years old, after consuming rice cereal, puffs and other products sold by Beech-Nut and Gerber in about 2021. Her complaint indicates that all of the products were contaminated with “substantial quantities” of toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and mercury, which succeeded regulatory limits.

The lawsuit blames the autism diagnosis on the heavy metals used in baby food products by the defendants.

“This case seeks to hold the Defendants accountable for their reprehensible conduct and ensure they are punished for permanently affecting Plaintiff’s ability to live a fulfilling life,” Garcia’s lawsuit states. “That Defendants’ Baby Foods are laced with staggering amounts of Toxic Heavy Metals recently made headlines following research and a Congressional investigation.”

The 2021 congressional report found that many popular products exceeded more than 91 times the maximum level of arsenic allowed in bottled water; 177 times the allowable levels of lead, 69 times the limits on cadmium, and five times the levels of allowable mercury.

The lawsuit indicates defendants could, and should have, properly tested, developed, designed and sold the baby food products in a way that ensured they were safe for children, but failed to do so. In addition, they failed to provide adequate warnings to parents, alerting them to the potential health risks.

Garcia’s complaint presents claims of failure to warn, design, defect, manufacturing defect, negligence, negligent production design and negligent manufacturing.

April 2024 Baby Food Toxic Metal Lawsuits Update

Following oral arguments held in late March, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the creation of a toxic metal baby food injury lawsuit multidistrict litigation, or MDL, on April 11, indicating all such lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide will be consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.

Now that an MDL has been established for lawsuits over baby food heavy metals causing autism and ADHD, it is expected that Judge Corley will establish a “bellwether” strategy. Under this plan, the parties would select a small group of representative cases to serve as early test trials, which typically help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

However, if the parties fail to negotiate baby food toxic metals settlements during the MDL proceedings, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

2 Comments

  • JosephApril 28, 2024 at 8:39 pm

    My son ate all of that food and snacks and he's five with autism. He was fine until around 2 we noticed he was sick alot and not coming along like the rest of the kids and then I find out he's autistic.

  • DionApril 28, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    My son was fed Gerber baby food for over a year. He is Autistic

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