Baby Food Lawsuit Alleges Heavy Metals in Leading Brands Led to Autism Diagnosis

Gerber, Nestle, Plum Organics, Campbell and Sprout Foods are accused of "malicious recklessness" for selling toxic baby food loaded with toxic heavy metals that increase the risk of autism among children

A New York mother has filed a product liability lawsuit against a number of leading food manufacturers, indicating that her daughter developed autism due to the presence of toxic heavy metals in baby food products sold in recent years.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Alexandra Agodon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, pursuing damages from Gerber Products Company, Nestle S.A, Plum, PBC (doing business as Plum Organics), Campbell Soup Company, and Sprout Foods, Inc. for injuries sustained by her minor daughter, identified with the initial A.L. in the baby food lawsuit.

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.

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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Agodon indicates that her daughter was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at two years old, after being fed baby food products manufactured by each of the defendants, noting that these products were all contaminated with high levels of lead, arsenic and mercury that exceeded any regulatory limits.

Exposure to those toxic heavy metals led to A.L. suffering brain injuries that manifested as autism, the baby food lawsuit argues.

Agodon states that if she and other parents and caregivers had been warned about the high levels of heavy metals and the possible impacts, they would not have purchased the products. However, she argues that defendants decided to place profits over the welfare and safety of infants.

“Defendants’ malicious recklessness and callous disregard for human life has wreaked havoc on the health of countless vulnerable children, all so that Defendants could maximize profits while deliberately misleading parents regarding the safety of their Baby Foods,” states Agodon in the complaint. “Accordingly, this lawsuit will not only ensure that Plaintiff is duly compensated for his tragic injuries and Defendants punished, but that future generations are protected from the poisonous products that Defendants pander as ‘food’.”

Agodon’s lawsuit presents claims of failure to warn, design defect, manufacturing defect, negligence, negligent product design and negligent manufacturing.

May 2024 Baby Food Toxic Metal Lawsuits Update

Nearly identical allegations have been raised in dozens of baby food lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system in recent years. Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established a toxic metal baby food injury lawsuit MDL (multidistrict litigation) in April 2024, transferring claims filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide to Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Throughout the remainder of 2024, as a growing number of baby food lawsuits continue to be filed by parents of children diagnosed with autism, it is expected that Judge Corley will establish a “bellwether” program, where a small group of representative cases will be prepared for a series of early test trials, to 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 manufacturers fail to negotiate baby food toxic metals settlements during the MDL proceedings, or otherwise resolve the litigation, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial in the future.


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