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Three plaintiffs from Texas, Indiana, and Washington State recently filed a new class-action baby food lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs claim that defendants The Kroger Company d/b/a Simple Truth Organic; Harris Teeter, LLC; and Fred Meyer Inc. knowingly sold baby food containing heavy metals for years, putting infants and young children at risk of serious health problems.

The plaintiffs seek to represent all similarly situated individuals who purchased the allegedly dangerous products during the proposed class period.

Congressional Report Indicates Baby Foods Contain Toxic Heavy Metals

On February 4, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a report entitled Baby Foods are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury.

According to the report, many of the largest name-brand baby food manufacturers knowingly concealed dangerous levels of contamination in ingredients directly used in the production of their baby food products.

According to Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi, “Today’s report reveals that companies not only under-report the high levels of toxic content in their baby food, but also knowingly keep toxic products on the market. The facts speak for themselves, and the fact of the matter is that the baby food industry has consistently cut corners and put profit over the health of babies and children.”

Among the committee’s findings were the following:

  • FDA-funded testing of Beech-Nut’s and Gerber’s infant rice cereals found that multiple samples contained more inorganic arsenic than the FDA’s 100 parts per billion (ppb) limit. Beech-Nut recalled only two of its six products that tested over the limit. Gerber had two products test over the limit but took no action to protect the public.
  • Plum Organics baby foods were found to contain up to 225 ppb of inorganic arsenic. The majority of the company’s foods also contained over 5 ppb lead, and nearly 40 percent exceeded 5 ppb cadmium.

Arsenic is particularly dangerous to young children as it can damage the central nervous system and a child’s cognitive development. High levels of lead exposure can also damage the brain and nervous system leading to learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, and lowered IQ levels.

Cadmium has also been linked to a decreased IQ as well as an increased risk of ADHD, particularly in young boys.

Plaintiffs Seek Damages from Baby Food Manufacturers

The plaintiffs all bought the baby food products made by these manufacturers believing they were safe. Now they all state that they are worried their children will experience adverse health effects as a result of consuming these foods. They blame the defendants for misrepresenting their products as safe, failing to warn on the label or product descriptions that their products could be laced with toxic heavy metals.

They seek compensatory, exemplary, and statutory damages for themselves and the class they want to represent.

This is one of hundreds of lawsuits brought against Gerber, Nurture, and other manufacturers since Congress released its report.

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