Gerber Lawsuit Filed Over False “Non-GMO” Claims Involving Baby Food, Infant Formula and Drinks
According to allegations raised in a recently filed class action lawsuit against Gerber, the company’s infant formula, baby food and drinks have been falsely advertised as free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), when in fact the products contain high concentrations of corn, soy and other GMOs that can be harmful to a child’s development.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Norman Faith in the United States District Court Northern District of California on December 22, seeking class action status to pursue damages on behalf of consumers nationwide who paid a premium for Gerber baby foods based on false non-GMO advertising claims.
Genetically modified foods are those whose genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Examples of GMOs typically include crops such as corn, soybeans and potatoes which have been modified to resist potentially harmful herbicides side effects.
Gerber Baby Food Lawsuits
Did your child experience side effects from Gerber baby food, such as autism or ADHD?
According to allegations raised in the Gerber lawsuit, several brands of infant and baby food products are deceptively marketed as free from containing GMOs. However, the complaint indicates the baby food products “are in fact loaded with ingredients derived from GM-crops such as corn and soy, and many of Defendant’s Products also contain protein and/or dairy sources derived from cows raised on GMO feed”.
Specifically, Faith claims Gerber has falsely marketed all Gerber-branded food or drink products purporting to be “NON GMO” and “GMO Free” on the labeling, including Gerber Good Start Soy 2 Powder Infant & Toddler Formula, Gerber Good Start Soy Infant Formula, Gerber Oatmeal & Barley Toddler Cereals and dozens of other infant formula, baby cereals, drinks, and food.
The class action lawsuit further alleges the Gerber products not only contain GMOs, but also contain numerous artificial ingredients genetically engineered in a laboratory setting using biotechnologies, making Gerber’s claims of “Non-GMO” of product labeling highly deceptive and outright false.
Faith argues that consumers seek to purchase products free of GMOs due to their benefits of being natural, healthier, and more wholesome and to avoid exposing infants and young children to GMO side effects, pesticides and toxins as well as for environmental benefits from naturally grown food.
Faith further states consumers paid a premium for products free of GMOs, and would have chosen a different product or paid significantly less if they had known the products contained GMO derived foods. Gerber is alleged to be taking advantage of a growing consumer market by using false and misleading claims that are outright false, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages for all class members, raising allegations of unjust enrichment, fraud, among multiple other consumer rights violations.
Toxic Baby Food Lawsuits
The case comes as Gerber faces a growing number of baby food lawsuits filed since it was discovered that products contain toxic metals, such as arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium, which may expose children to long-term complications, including autism and severe ADHD.
The toxic baby food litigation emerged after a House Oversight Committee report was released in February 2021, which highlighted internal documents and testing data for baby food products manufactured by Gerber (d/b/a Nestlé Nutrition), Beech-Nut Nutrition, Plum and others.
The U.S. Congressional report found 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.
In March, an Arizona mother of three minor children, Valencia Gibson, filed a baby food autism lawsuit against Gerber Products Company; Nurture, Inc.; Beech-Nut Nutrition Company; Plum, PBC; Hain Celestial group, Inc., and Sprout Foods Inc, saying that high levels of toxic metals recently found in their products caused her three children to each develop autism.
In September, two mothers from Virginia filed a Gerber baby food class actions lawsuit, alleging the heavy metals in baby foods placed children at risk in order to maximize profits, and indicates that if parents had known about the presence of heavy metals in the baby food, they would not have purchased the products, or would have paid far less than the premium prices at which they were sold.
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.
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