DC Attorney General’s Lawsuit Says Baby Food Maker Misled

April 26, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C.’s attorney general sued baby food maker Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. this week with claims the company misled consumers by failing to disclose toxic metals in its food.

The lawsuit filed in District of Columbia Superior Court incorporates evidence from a congressional report in February that said dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury were found in Beech-Nut’s and other companies’ baby food.

The D.C. lawsuit joins others filed by consumers nationwide after the congressional report from the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine says Beech-Nut’s advertising violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act through false safety claims and inaccurate advertisement.

The company’s ads say the food underwent the most stringent testing and was completely healthy for babies.

Its website ads say its baby foods “are free from artificial preservatives, colors and flavor” and the company “conduct[s] over 20 rigorous tests on our purees, testing for up to 255 pesticides and heavy metals (like lead, cadmium, arsenic and other nasty stuff).”

Beech-Nut says it is “aware of no higher standards in the industry than the ones we employ” and that “[j]ust like you would, we send the produce back if it’s not good enough.”

However, Racine’s lawsuit says, “The reality is quite different. Multiple studies over recent years have found high levels of toxic heavy metals in Beech-Nut’s baby foods.”

“Toxic heavy metals have a disproportionate adverse effect on the developing minds and bodies of babies and young children,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit asks that Beech-Nut be enjoined from misrepresenting its products and pay civil penalties.

Other lawsuits name The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Nurture Inc., Gerber Products Company, and Plum PBC as additional defendants.

The congressional report that prompted the lawsuits followed a study by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. It found toxic chemicals in 95% of the foods tested.

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy requested internal test reports from seven of the largest baby food makers.

The four that responded are defendants in some of the lawsuits. Three others, namely Walmart, Campbell (Plum Organics), and Sprout Organics, refused to cooperate. The subcommittee said in a statement that it had “grave concern” about products made by the three companies that did not respond.

A study authorized by the congressional committee found results similar to Healthy Babies Bright Futures.

The first lawsuit was filed by Staten Island, N.Y. resident Michelle Walls, who fed the suspect food to her one-year-old child. A federal court granted her class action status when she claimed to be representing all parents who purchased the foods.

The lawsuit cited “the defendants’ apparent knowledge of such toxic metals in their baby foods, and their apparent failure to take any steps to protect the infants and young babies regularly ingesting such toxic metals.”

As in the Washington, D.C., lawsuit, the New York woman accused the companies of deceit.

She listed examples of advertisements from baby food companies that assured consumers their products were safe. The ads said the companies thoroughly tested their raw ingredients to ensure there were no contaminants.

Walls’ lawsuit quoted warnings from the congressional report of serious consequences when it said that “babies’ developing brains are exceptionally sensitive to injury caused by toxic chemicals, and several developmental processes have been shown to be highly vulnerable to chemical toxicity. The fact that babies are small, have other developing organ systems, and absorb more of the heavy metals than adults, exacerbates their risk from exposure to heavy metals.”

The baby food companies continue to insist in public statements that their products are safe.

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

China Irked By US Push for Taiwan Presence at World Health Assembly
Geopolitics
China Irked By US Push for Taiwan Presence at World Health Assembly
May 14, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Over the last two weeks, China and the U.S. have made dueling comments about whether Taiwan should be admitted to this year's World Health Assembly, the meeting where priorities and policies of the World Health Organization are set, which will be held later this month. U.S.... Read More

Desperate for Workers, US Restaurants and Stores Raise Pay
Employment
Desperate for Workers, US Restaurants and Stores Raise Pay

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. restaurants and stores are rapidly raising pay in an urgent effort to attract more applicants and keep up with a flood of customers as the pandemic eases. McDonald's, Sheetz and Chipotle  are just some of the latest companies to follow Amazon, Walmart ... Read More

CDC: No Masks, No Social Distance If Fully Vaccinated
Health
CDC: No Masks, No Social Distance If Fully Vaccinated
May 13, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume life without any restrictions.  "The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you... Read More

COVID-19 Researchers Say U.S. Must Stay Prepared for Variants
Health
COVID-19 Researchers Say U.S. Must Stay Prepared for Variants
May 13, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Infectious disease experts urged Congress Wednesday to move quickly to vaccinate Americans before the COVID-19 virus mutates to become more dangerous. Without fast action to create herd immunity, emerging virus strains could make current vaccines less effective, experts told the House Science, Space and... Read More

White House Steps Up Effort to Encourage COVID Shots for Adolescents
Health
White House Steps Up Effort to Encourage COVID Shots for Adolescents
May 13, 2021
by TWN Staff

The White House is stepping up its efforts to encourage the parents of adolescents age 12-15 to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19.Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioN-Tech vaccine to include individuals ages 12-15. On... Read More

Researchers Developing Sensor Able to Detect COVID-19 in the Air
Health
Researchers Developing Sensor Able to Detect COVID-19 in the Air
May 12, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

Researchers from Emory University are working on a National Institutes of Health-supported project to develop a sensor capable of detecting COVID-19 in the air, called Rolosense.  “It’s tricky to anticipate what the real-world implementation will be of this technology, but we anticipate this will fill a... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top