Tainted Edible Products Litigation Attorney’s | Information on Tainted Baby Food
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a report that found commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
The Subcommittee requested internal documents and test results on November 6, 2019 from seven of the largest manufacturers of baby food, including both makers of conventional and organic products. Out of the seven manufacturers, only four of the companies responded – Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber. The other three companies – Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods – refused to cooperate with the Subcommittee’s investigation.
On February 4, 2021, the Subcommittee reported their findings that baby foods are tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. The Subcommittee’s results found that the baby foods and their ingredients were up to 91 times the arsenic level, up to 177 times the lead level, up to 69 times the cadmium level, and up to 5 times the mercury level to the FDA’s maximum allowable levels of these toxins to be found in other consumer products. The report also revealed that the manufacturers have often sold foods that exceeded their internal company standards that already permitted dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals.
The Subcommittee’s report also included the following recommendations – Mandatory testing, Labeling, FDA standards, and Voluntary phase-out of toxic ingredients. Manufacturers should be required by the FDA to test their finished baby products, not just their ingredients, for toxic heavy metals. They should also be required to report the levels of toxic heavy metals on their food labels. The FDA should set maximum allowable levels of toxic heavy metals permitted in baby foods. The Subcommittee recommends that one level for each metal should apply across all baby foods. They also believe that the manufacturers should voluntarily find substitutes for ingredients that are high in toxic heavy metals and phase out products that frequently test high in toxic heavy metals.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are dangerous, particularly to infants and children. Toxic heavy metals endanger infant neurological development and long-term brain function. The New York Times reported that other than arsenic in rice cereal, the FDA currently does not set specific limits on the amount of heavy metals in baby food.
On February 16, 2021, the FDA published a response letter to the Subcommittee’s report. In the letter, the FDA stated that they have been actively working on this issue using a risk-based approach and that FDA scientists routinely monitor levels of toxic elements in baby foods. The agency has now come up with an action plan, Closer to Zero, to reduce exposure to toxic elements from foods eaten by babies and young children.
Not even six weeks after the report from the Subcommittee was released, 43 lawsuits had been filed against the baby food manufacturers. The lawsuits allege that baby food manufacturers knowingly sold baby food products containing heavy metals and marketed them as healthy. A motion was filed in March to centralize litigation to the Eastern District of New York and was denied by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 7th.
During this time, the number of lawsuits filed against the baby food manufacturers had now doubled; and, the Judicial Panel explained that “each defendant manufactures, markets, and distributes its own baby food products subject to different manufacturing processes, suppliers, and quality control procedures.” Therefore, the “claims against each defendant thus are likely to rise or fall on facts specific to that defendant, such as the amount of heavy metals in its products, the results of its internal testing, if any, and its marketing strategies. Much of the discovery and pretrial practice will be defendant-specific.”
If you or a loved one has been affected by toxic heavy metals found in baby foods, call 855-566-3752 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation. We are here to help you!