Lawsuit Alleges Baby Food Containing Heavy Metals Sold at Krogers, Harris Teeter, Other Retailers
A class action lawsuit filed against Kroger, Harris Teeter and other retailers claims parents were sold baby food containing heavy metals for years, which may increase the risk of autism, ADHD and other developmental problems.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Tasheba Barnett, Adele Hoffman and Chadaela Lovincey in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, seeking class action status to pursue damages on behalf of other parents as well.
The lawsuit names The Kroger Company, doing business as Simple Truth Organic, Harris Teeter, LLC and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. and Fred Meyer Inc. as defendants, indicating that the companies sold “Simple Truth Organic Rice Rusks Baby Teething Wafers,” which had “dangerous” levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.
Over the past year, Gerber, Nurture and other manufacturers have faced a growing number of similar toxic baby food lawsuits brought by parents of children with autism or ADHD, following the release of a congressional report last year, which found that many popular products contain high levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, which may cause severe health problems and developmental challenges for children.
The U.S. Congressional report highlighted internal documents and testing products for baby food sold by Gerber (doing business as Nestlé Nutrition), Nurture, Beech-Nut Nutrition, Hain Celestial Group, Campbell, Sprout Organic Foods and other widely used products, finding that some baby foods contain high levels of toxic metals, with 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 “Simple Truth” teething wafers lawsuit alleges the retailers sold the baby food as safe, failing to accurately represent the risks of high levels of toxic heavy metals to consumers who bought them for their children.
“Defendants know that their customers trust the quality of their products and that they reasonably expect Defendants’ products to be safe for consumption. They also know that certain customers eek out and wish to purchase premium baby foods that possess high quality ingredients free of toxins, contaminants, or chemicals and that these consumers will pay more for baby foods they believe possess these qualities than for baby foods they do not believe possess these qualities.”
Simple Truth Teething Wafers Risks
The lawsuit seeks class action status and compensation for consumers who bought the products nationwide, and in the states of Indiana, Texas and Washington.
According to the complaint, independent laboratory testing of the apple and kale flavor version of Simple Truth Organic teething wafers revealed they contained 45.5 parts per billion of arsenic, 13.1 ppb of cadmium, 6.5 ppb of lead, and more than 1.7 ppb of mercury.
Those levels are high enough to raise health concerns, the lawsuit claims.
Although the manufacturers continue to maintain their baby food is safe and appropriately labeled, the 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.
Heavy metal exposure to infants is a serious concern. Lead exposure at any level is extremely unsafe for children. Prior studies have linked heavy metal exposure to behavioral impairments, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, seizures, growth impairments, and even death.
October 2022 Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit Update
The case joins hundreds of baby food lawsuits filed over the last year in state and federal courts nationwide, following the congressional report that revealed many popular products contain high levels of toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, which may cause severe health problems and developmental challenges for children.
The lawsuits indicate the baby food manufacturers knew that if consumers were aware of the high levels of toxic metals that parents would never willingly agree to purchase the products for their children.
In May 2022, a California state court judge cleared the way for a number of baby food autism lawsuits over toxic metals to move forward, and actions are currently moving forward in various different state courts nationwide.
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