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Toxic Metals Baby Food Lawsuit

Last Updated: May 19, 2022

Commercial baby food is a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States. Companies behind these products have a carefully crafted image, promoting themselves as key to our children’s nourishment and development. Perhaps more than any other food industry, there is a cultivated bond between ourselves as parents and these brands. We put our trust in them, and we assume that they will provide the best products for our children’s development. But a report issued by Congress last year, titled, “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury,” has shocked families across America, many of whom are worried about their children’s health due to potential consumption of toxic heavy metals. Several big-name brands were named in the report, including those owned by Walmart and Campbell, and now families are demanding justice. A series of toxic baby food lawsuits have been launched, accusing these huge corporations of profiting from selling baby food with dangerous levels of poisonous heavy metals. Families affected by toxic metals found in baby food want answers, and, as with other baby food lawsuits, they want to hold these corporations to account.

Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit News & Updates

  • May 19, 2022 - The United States will increase baby formula imports to alleviate the national shortage following the Abbott Nutrition recall.

    • Senior administration officials stated that the Food and Drug Administration will announce concrete actions to increase imports of baby formula in the coming days, amid a nationwide shortage.
    • According to Datasembly (a company that tracks retail data), 43% of baby formula products were out of stock in the United States during the first week of May.
    • This shortage is caused by the recall of contamination at Abbott Nutrition, America's largest manufacturer of baby formulas.
    • Four infants who had eaten products from this plant ended up in the hospital with bacterial infections. Two infants died.
  • May 1, 2022 - The FDA published a plan, Closer To Zero, the plan describes actions that the FDA will take in order to reduce exposure to toxic elements in foods consumed by infants and young children.
  • March 1, 2022 - FDA and Congress must immediately take action on new test results for heavy metals in baby foods.
  • February 1, 2022 - U.S. Department of Agriculture collaborates with the FDA on the Closer to Zero (C2Z) initiative that provides a crucial framework for the work that must be done to reduce heavy metal content in foods, particularly in baby foods.
  • February 4, 2021 -  a congressional report released by the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy warned that baby food produced by some of America’s largest baby food manufacturers were “tainted” with “significant” levels of toxic substances, including lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. Investigators had asked the companies to provide lab testing of their products, and the results from several of the companies showed that the levels of toxic heavy metals exceeded the FDA recommendations when compared to other products. For instance, when compared to the levels of lead permitted in bottled water by the FDA, evidence showed that some of these baby food products had up to 177 times those levels in them.
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Read about more related baby formula lawsuits: Toxic Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit

Seven companies/brands were cited in the report: HappyBABY (Nurture), Beech-Nut, Gerber, Parent’s Choice (Walmart), Plum Organics (Campbell), Earth’s Best Organic (Hain), and Sprout Organic Foods. However, it should be noted that three companies – Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic – initially refused to cooperate with the investigators. Of the four companies that did provide lab evidence, all were found to have potentially dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium in some. In testing of mercury, some HappyBABY products were found to have levels of mercury of up to 10 ppb (five times what the FDA allows in drinking water). Beech-Nut and Earth’s Best Organic did not test their baby food for mercury at all, whereas Gerber “rarely” tested for mercury.

In September 2021, a new report was issued. It took aim at those manufacturers for failing to recall products and shed light on the levels of toxic metals in products from those who initially failed to comply with investigators, including Walmart’s Parent’s Choice. It found that most Parent’s Choice products, including Superpuff snacks, contained toxic heavy metals.

Toxic Metals Baby Food Lawsuit
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Toxic Baby Food Injuries & Side Effects

Scientists have been aware for many years that exposure to certain heavy metals, including those named in the baby food heavy metals lawsuits, can severely damage the health of children (and adults, too, of course). The dangers of toxic heavy metals are clear, and that’s one of the reasons campaigners are asking the FDA to require specific minimum levels of heavy metals in all baby foods. The toxicity of baby food due to heavy metals is in the spotlight, and families are clearly concerned. But what are the potential injuries and side effects of toxic heavy metals in baby food?

Side of effects of toxic heavy metals can include:

  • IQ lowering and brain development issues
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Cancers (exposure to arsenic or cadmium)
  • Heart problems (exposure to mercury)
  • Brain damage (exposure to lead)

Please note that it is not certain your child will develop these issues after being fed baby food products listed as containing high levels of toxic heavy metals. There is no reason to panic if you have used these products in the past. But if your child becomes unwell or shows any indication of dangerous baby food side effects, you should contact your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider for further advice.

Toxic Baby Food Injuries Side Effects

Do Heavy Metals in Baby Food Cause ADHD?

An important question is what are the dangers of toxic metals baby food? Unfortunately, there are many risks related to baby food with toxic metals. The congressional report states that “Children’s exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior.” In addition, “Exposure to heavy metals at this developmental stage can lead to untreatable and frequently permanent brain damage.”

However, there is also a concern about the toxic baby food ADHD link. Studies have uncovered a significant link between lead exposure and the development of ADHD, and there have been studies showing an association between cadmium exposure and the development of ADHD in children. All of this information and links to the studies (some very recent) are contained within the congressional report.

Do Heavy Metals in Baby Food Cause Autism?

Experts still aren’t clear on what causes autism. However, several groundbreaking studies in recent years have demonstrated a link between autism and exposure to toxic heavy metals, including zinc, manganese, and those mentioned in the baby food toxic metals brands congressional report. The latest autism data from the CDC shows that around one in 44 children in the United States has been identified with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Interestingly, studies confirm that autism is around four times more common in boys than girls, and the data also shows that the rate of autism in children is increasing. For instance, studies from 2000 showed that around one in 150 had autism, compared with one in 44 just 20-some years later.

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Baby Food Safety Act 2021

The revelations of the 2021 congressional report on toxic metals baby food prompted a lot of scrutiny, not just on the toxic metal baby food brands but on how the baby food industry is regulated and overseen by the FDA. One of the issues raised in the report was self-regulation, i.e., the level of freedom enjoyed by these baby food companies to report on levels of toxic metals in baby food, recall toxic baby food products, and escape oversight by authorities. This led to the launch of the Baby Food Safety Act in March 2021 (bill S.1019) by Congress, which aimed to “amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to limit the presence of toxic elements in, and otherwise regulate, infant and toddler food, and for other purposes.”

But critics maintain that there are several shortcomings in the Baby Food Safety Act and the powers given to the FDA to regulate the baby food industry, not least, the timeframe. The FDA plans to wait until April 2024 to limit the amount of arsenic in baby food, and it has not yet released draft rules for cadmium and mercury. Rules for maximum levels of lead in baby food are set to be drafted by April 2022. Moreover, there is a glaring absence in the FDA’s remit to compel these companies to test – and disclose results of testing – for toxic heavy metals in finished baby food products.

Baby Food Toxic Metals Brands

The congressional report and previous food safety campaigns combined to create a complicated situation for toxic baby food recalls in 2021. This was due to the mixture of federal inaction, the onus on individual companies to recall products (as they are not compelled by the FDA to do so), and the lack of transparency on the part of companies to publish and report evidence of baby food toxic products. Below, however, we set out some details of each toxic baby food recall status for each company named in the congressional reports and the toxic baby food lawsuits.

Gerber Baby Food Recall

Gerber failed to recall any of its products, even though some were found to have unacceptable levels of toxic heavy metals. Gerber’s rice cereals tested at 116 ppb for inorganic arsenic, whereas the FDA’s maximum level is 100 ppb.

Metal In Gerber Cereal Lawsuit

Lawsuits have been filed against Gerber Products Company due to the presence of potentially toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic, in its infant cereals. 

Beech-Nut Baby Food Recall

There was a recall of Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal on June 8, 2021, due to high levels of inorganic arsenic found in this product. However, the Beech-Nut baby food recall has been called “incomplete,” and the company was singled out for criticism in the follow-up congressional report in September 2021. Beech-Nut rice cereals were found to contain 125 ppb of inorganic arsenic.

Beech-Nut Lawsuit

Beech-Nut has been hit with a range of toxic baby foods lawsuits due to the presence of potentially toxic heavy metals, including inorganic arsenic.

Earth Best Organic Baby Food Recall

There has been no recall of Earth’s Best Organic baby food, despite the products being listed in the congressional reports.

Earth Best Organic Baby Food Lawsuit

Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of Earth’s Best Organic baby food (Hain Celestial Group, Inc) after traces of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic, were discovered in its baby foods.

Parent’s Choice Organic Infant Formula Recall

Walmart, the makers of Parent’s Choice, has not issued a recall of baby food products after the 2021 toxic heavy metals revelations. However, two years earlier, in 2019, there was a Parent’s Choice recall of infant formula products due to the presence of metals.

Parent’s Choice Lawsuit

Walmart, Inc. is facing lawsuits for selling Parent’s Choice products, which are made exclusively for that retailer, that contain potentially dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals.

Plum Organics Baby Food Recall

Plum Organics has not issued any recalls of its baby food products as a direct result of the toxic heavy metals investigations.

Plum Organics Baby Formula Lawsuit

Plum Organics is facing lawsuits after its products were listed as having potentially dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals in them. Please note that Plum Organics was owned by Campbell Soup Company when the congressional report into baby food toxic heavy metals was released in February 2021. In March 2021, Campbell’s sold Plum Organics to Sun-Maid Growers of California.

Happy Baby Organic Food Recall

While there have been several HappyBABY baby food recalls in the past, the company behind the products, Nurture, Inc., has not issued any heavy metal baby food recalls after the congressional report was released.

Happy Baby Food Lawsuit

The owner of HappyBABY baby food products, Nurture, has been listed among the defendants in the baby formula lawsuits. 

Sprout Organic Baby Food Recall

While there was a 2021 recall of some of Sprout’s products due to a salmonella scare, the company has not issued any toxic baby food recalls due to the presence of heavy metals in those foods

Sprout Baby Food Lawsuit

Sprout Farmer’s Market, Inc, which makes Sprout baby food products, is facing a series of poisonous baby food lawsuits due to the presence of potentially harmful heavy metals in its products.

Baby Food Lawsuit Compensation

If your baby has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder or related injury after taking heavy metal-contaminated toxic baby food, you may be eligible to join a lawsuit to pursue compensation from the manufacturers. The level of financial compensation companies like Walmart and Gerber might have to pay will depend on a range of factors. However, we can assume that the courts would calculate based on criteria like medical bills (past and future) and loss of earnings, as well as the pain and suffering caused to the child and family. Depending upon the outcome of the baby food toxic metals lawsuits, compensation would also be based upon the potential negligence on behalf of the manufacturers.

Baby Food Lawsuit Settlement

It is possible that if the weight of evidence against the defendants in the baby food heavy metal lawsuits continues to grow, these companies will decide to settle out of court. This would mean they agree to pay financial damages to families affected by toxic baby food before potentially being ordered to do so after a trial. It’s not yet known how much you could get for a toxic baby food settlement, as it will depend on many factors and evidence gathered in the lawsuits against the manufacturers of these baby food products.

Is The Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit a Class Action Lawsuit or a Mass Tort?

This is a complicated question, as there are reports that some of the toxic baby food lawsuits have already been consolidated into a class-action lawsuit. However, it should be made clear that a class action is used when a large group of claimants has an (almost) identical grievance against an individual or company. Due to the fact that the level of injury caused by baby food toxicity could be very different in each case, it is more likely that baby injury law firms will pursue compensation and justice through mass tort cases. Essentially, mass tort cases are a means of streamlining legal cases through the courts’ system by consolidating the cases together for hearings and evidence sharing by lawyers. However, each claimant is judged as an individual when it comes to gauging compensation. So, if you are pursuing a claim after your child was injured by one of the heavy metal baby food products, it is likely that it will form part of a mass tort lawsuit, not a class action.

Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit FAQs

Which Products Contain Toxic Heavy Metals?

Numerous products contain toxic heavy metals, with some even added intentionally to products like cosmetics. However, the baby food toxicity lawsuits allege that various products under the brand names Beech-Nut, Gerber, Plum Organics, Parent’ Choice, HappyBABY, Sprout, and Earth’s Best Organic, contained toxic heavy metals, many of which exceeded guidelines set out by the FDA for other products.

Does Gerber Baby Food Contain Lead?

A report from the U.S House of Representatives, which is backed up with several studies, has provided evidence that some Gerber baby food products contain lead. One lawsuit, filed in California in October 2021, alleges that one serving of certain Gerber products exposes babies to three times the amount of lead that an adult can safely consume in one day.

Is there a lawsuit against Gerber baby?

Yes. There are toxic baby product lawsuits against Gerber, as well as lawsuits against Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Plum Organics, HappyBABY, Earth’s Best Organic, Sprout, and Beech-Nut.

What baby food companies are being sued?

The following baby food companies are being sued for toxic heavy metals: Plum Organics, Parent’s Choice, HappyBABY, Sprout Organic Foods, Beech-Nut, Gerber, and Earth’s Best Organics. In addition, other baby food companies, specializing in baby formula, are being sued in a series of NEC necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuits.

Is Happy baby organic baby food safe?

We do not know whether HappyBABY organic baby food is safe to eat. Campaigners have been raising concerns about unsafe levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods for several years, and this was picked up in 2021 when Congress issued a damning report on several baby food companies and brands, including HappyBABY (owned by Nurture, Inc.).

What baby food is on recall?

In the months following the report by Congress, several brands and individual lines of baby food have been recalled due to the presence of toxic heavy metals, including a Beech-Nut recall for Single Grain Rice. However, critics have pointed out that not all brands listed in the toxic baby food lawsuits have issued recalls for products mentioned in the report.

Is Sprout baby food safe?

Many parents are worried about baby food toxicity, and Sprout baby food products have been listed in the studies showing higher than acceptable levels of heavy metals, including lead, inorganic arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.

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We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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