“Baby Food Fraud” Lawsuit Alleges Manufacturers Cut Corners To Profit Financially
Several major baby food manufacturers face a toxic heavy metals class action lawsuit, which includes RICO claims that allege the companies used organized crime tactics to defraud parents nationwide by concealing the fact that their products contained heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which are toxic and harmful to the infants their food is meant to nurture.
Earlier this year, a report from the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy highlighted internal documents and testing data for products manufactured and sold by Gerber (d/b/a Nestlé Nutrition), Beech-Nut Nutrition, Plum, Hain Celestial Group, Campbell Soup Company, Walmart Inc., Parent’s Choice and Sprout Foods, indicating that many of the widely used baby foods contain elevated and toxic levels of heavy metals.
The House report found some baby foods contained 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.
Since then, a growing number of baby food class action lawsuits have been filed against a variety of manufacturers. However, this latest complaint accuses the manufacturers of engaging in “food fraud”, which occurs when corners are cut to help companies profit financially.
The complaint (PDF) was brought by Katheryn Gavula and Barbara Wicker on August 26, presenting claims against Campbell Soup Company, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Nurture, Inc., doing business as Happy Family Organics, Gerber Products Company and the Hain Celestial Group.
Plaintiffs are pursuing damages under the the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which is usually reserved for charges against organized crime syndicates, and seeks class action status on behalf of all consumers who were victims of the “baby food fraud.”
“The greed of executives at baby food companies has caused them to orchestrate long-running, ongoing schemes to defraud involving premium baby food,” the lawsuit states. “Several companies have promised and reassured parents that their baby food products are pure, natural, safe, and healthy; in reality, these products contain heavy metals that are impure, unnatural, unsafe, and pose a major risk to babies and infants.”
The lawsuit claims the companies put infants at risk in order to maximize profits, and that had parents known about the presence of heavy metals in the products, they would not have purchased them, or would have paid far less than the premium prices at which they were sold.
Although the manufacturers maintain their products are safe and appropriately labeled, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long maintained that exposing infants and children to toxic heavy metals can cause a permanent decrease in IQ, an increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior, and untreatable and frequently permanent brain damage.
While heavy metals do occur naturally in some foods, like rice and vegetables, the amounts may be increased by adding enzymes, vitamins and mineral mixes. Companies often do that, leading to dangerous levels of heavy metals in the final products. However, long term exposure of heavy metals poses serious health concerns for children. Lead exposure at any level is extremely unsafe, and prior studies have linked heavy metal exposure to behavioral impairments, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, seizures, growth impairments, and even death.
MitchellJuly 7, 2022 at 10:08 pm
My son is now 18 and he suffers from ASD & ADHD but was diagnosed 2 years ago and my 5 year old daughter also shows symptoms of both as well and both grew up on Gerber baby food
StephanieMay 19, 2022 at 7:57 am
I bought all of these products and my son is showing similar behavior. I am now worried.
DerrickMay 15, 2022 at 5:00 am
Hi, my first son has autism. We are concerned about our 7 month old baby because the chances are higher for him to have autism also. Furthermore, I’ve been googling gerber food and stumbled across this arsenic issue. I was feeding my baby rice cereal. If I would have not googled this gerber cereal I would have known nothing about this. How can someone join a class action lawsuit? All my older son [Show More]Hi, my first son has autism. We are concerned about our 7 month old baby because the chances are higher for him to have autism also. Furthermore, I’ve been googling gerber food and stumbled across this arsenic issue. I was feeding my baby rice cereal. If I would have not googled this gerber cereal I would have known nothing about this. How can someone join a class action lawsuit? All my older son ate was gerber food all this crap.
JeanaFebruary 18, 2022 at 2:50 am
I fed my son Gerber and Beech-nut exclusively as a baby. He's been diagnosed with severe ADHD
MichaelNovember 3, 2021 at 9:51 am
Hello My son August was evaluated when he was around 2 1/2 and had red flags for autism but not enough to diagnose at the time. At this time, he was already eating Gerber baby foods. Tons of them. He is being re-evaluated in February 2022. He will definitely be officially diagnosed with autism and neurological issues. He has had severe feeding issues and has solely been eating Gerber baby foods f[Show More]Hello My son August was evaluated when he was around 2 1/2 and had red flags for autism but not enough to diagnose at the time. At this time, he was already eating Gerber baby foods. Tons of them. He is being re-evaluated in February 2022. He will definitely be officially diagnosed with autism and neurological issues. He has had severe feeding issues and has solely been eating Gerber baby foods for the past 4 years. We have seen multiple drs, naturalists and nutritionist that have all acknowledged He has severe heavy metal build up. Recently we have started heavy metal detoxing, that was long before the news of the House report on these companies coming out with significant amounts of heavy metals in their food. It's absolutely insane how he's been somewhat "addicted " to this brand and only this brand. We would love to be apart of this action and be an advocate for our son and all these kids being hurt by the astronomical numbers of heavy metals their taken in.
SelinaNovember 1, 2021 at 9:12 pm
Stay away from Gerber products
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