Heavy Metals in Baby Foods: Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
Last Updated on May 5, 2021
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
- May 5, 2021 – Investigation Closed, Lawsuits Moving Forward
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to close their investigation into this matter as they have received enough information from consumers who purchased potentially contaminated baby food. A number of lawsuits have been filed and are moving through the court system. So, if you want to stay up to date on their progress, make sure to sign up for our newsletter. You can also learn more about why you generally don’t need to do anything to join a class action lawsuit right here.
The information below was posted when the investigation began and remains for reference only.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who purchased certain baby food products reportedly found to contain high levels of toxic heavy metals.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether they can file class action lawsuits against manufacturers believed to have sold baby food products with dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals.
- How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
- A class action lawsuit could give consumers a chance to recover some of the money they spent on the baby food and force the manufacturers to recall the products or add warnings about the presence of heavy metals.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to hear from anyone who purchased baby foods reportedly found to contain high levels of toxic heavy metals.
Specifically, they’re looking to speak with consumers who purchased any of the products listed below.
Happy Baby/Happy Family (Nurture Inc.)
- Sweet Potato and Carrot
- Banana and Pumpkin
- Strawberry and Beet
- Apple and Broccoli
- Strawberry and Raspberry
- Rice Cakes
- Blueberry Beet
- Whole grain cereal
- Teethers (made with rice flour)
- Pea and Spinach
Parent's Choice (Walmart)
- Baby Rusks - Banana Flavored
- Baby Rusks - Blueberry Flavored
Congressional Report: Baby Foods Tainted with “Dangerous Levels” of Arsenic, Lead, Other Heavy Metals
In November 2019, a congressional subcommittee asked seven of the largest U.S. baby food manufacturers to produce internal documents and tests results after an outside investigation revealed high levels of toxic chemicals, including arsenic and lead, in certain products.
The subcommittee specifically requested information from the following companies:
- Nurture, Inc., which sells Happy Family Organics, including baby food products under the brand name Happy BABY
- Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc., which sells baby food products under the brand name Earth’s Best Organic
- Campbell Soup Company, which sells baby food products under the brand name Plum Organics
- Walmart Inc., which sells baby food products under its Parent’s Choice brand
- Sprout Foods, Inc.
While Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain Celestial and Gerber responded to the congressional request, Walmart, Campbell and Sprout refused to produce any documents, leading the subcommittee to become “greatly concerned that their lack of cooperation might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.”
According to the documents and test results that were produced, commercial baby food products were found to contain arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxic heavy metals at levels that are multiple times higher than the allowable limit in other products.
For instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets heavy metal limits for bottled water at 10 ppb inorganic arsenic, 5 ppb lead and 5 ppb cadmium, and the Environmental Protection Agency caps the maximum allowable amount of mercury in drinking water at 2ppb. The levels of toxic heavy metals in the tested baby foods and their ingredients well surpassed these limits, with results showing “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,” according to the report.
While the baby food manufacturers reportedly set limits on the amount of heavy metals their products can contain, the subcommittee found that these internal standards often allowed for “dangerously high levels” of toxic heavy metals and that the companies still sold their products even when they exceeded these limits.
It’s important to note that while the subcommittee is urging the FDA to determine whether there is a safe exposure level for infants and require manufacturers to comply with such limits, no recalls have been issued for the baby food products mentioned in the congressional report.
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
If successful, a class action lawsuit could prohibit the companies from selling their products until the heavy metals are removed or warning labels are added.
Further, the companies could be forced to recall the affected products; remove any representations that the products are healthy, natural or safe; and give people back the money they spent on the baby food.
Baby Food Contamination: What’s the Risk?
Both the FDA and the World Health Organization have declared heavy metals as “dangerous to human health,” particularly for infants and children who are “most vulnerable to their neurotoxic effects,” the subcommittee’s report states. Heavy metal exposure can harm a child’s developing brain even at low levels and has been linked to problems with learning, behavior and cognition.
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