Current research and testing have shown that Gerber and other major brands of baby food contain dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury. These harmful metals cause health complications and neurologic damage in developing children. The development of conditions such as ADHD and autism may be linked to consuming these toxic baby foods.
The product liability lawyers at Miller & Zois seek cases from children (and their parents) who consumed contaminated Gerber baby foods and were later diagnosed with neurologic health conditions such as autism.
If you have a potential baby food autism case, call us today at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us online.
January 16, 2024: A new baby food class action lawsuit naming Gerber is being sought. Toxic baby food lawyers have filed a request with the MDL Panel to create a nationwide MDL to house all federal baby food suits.
December 14, 2023: So far, the lawsuits alleging that heavy metals in baby food may cause autism have not been very successful. 2 of these cases have moved forward, and both of them have eventually been dismissed based on the lack of admissible causation evidence. Despite these setbacks, there is renewed optimism for these cases heading into 2024. Our firm is seeking and accepting bay food autism cases against Gerber and other baby food companies.
GERBER BACTERIA RECALL 2023:
Federal health authorities are raising alarms about the continued distribution of recalled Gerber Good Start formula to various retailers, despite its initial recall due to a potential risk of Cronobacter sakazakii bacterial contamination, a serious health threat for infants. The FDA released a warning on May 14, 2023, that a Tennessee distributor had continued to ship the recalled formula to retailers in at least eight states after the products were identified as potentially contaminated. Cronobacter sakazakii, a rare bacterium commonly found in dry foods like infant formula, can persist in arid conditions, making it possible to transmit through contaminated surfaces. Infections from this bacterium can be deadly, especially for infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, causing severe infections or meningitis.
The FDA announced the Gerber Good Start recall on March 17 due to concerns about potential Cronobacter sakazakii contamination in specific batches of infant formula produced at a Wisconsin plant. Although the initial recall didn’t disclose how the contamination risk was discovered, 13 lots of the powdered formula were identified as possibly contaminated. These included various Gerber Good Start SoothePro sizes, manufactured by Perrigo Company plc at its Eau Claire, Wisconsin facility between January 2 and 18, 2023.
The latest update reveals that Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) continued shipping the recalled products from its Nashville warehouse even after the recall was announced. The FDA’s investigation found that AWG distributed the recalled formula to over 50 retailers in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Consumers who have purchased the recalled formula in these states are asked to check for specific lot codes and “use by” dates on the packages. If they have affected products, they should discontinue use immediately and contact the Gerber Parent Resource Center for a refund.
Gerber Baby Food
Gerber is a well-known and established baby food brand in the United States. You probably heard of Gerber before you had children.
The company was founded in 1927 and has since become a leading producer of baby food products, offering a wide range of options for different stages of infancy and early childhood. Gerber’s products are widely available in supermarkets and other retail stores, making it a popular choice for parents looking for convenient and affordable baby food options.
Gerber Products at Issue in Autism Lawsuits
These are the products that are giving cause for concern that the metals in them could cause autism.
|Puff Snacks: Blueberry Puffs
|Organic Lil’ Crunchies White Cheddar Broccoli
|Sweet Potato Puffs
|Cranberry Orange Organic Puffs
|Organic Lil’ Crunchies White Bean Hummus
Gerber Baby Food Found to Contain High Levels of Toxic Metals
Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium are toxic to the human body. Many of them, such as lead and mercury, have been linked explicitly to neurological problems in young children with developing brains. This is why keeping these metals away from children has been a significant public health priority for many years. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that we may have fed these toxic metals to our children for years.
In October 2019, a public health organization called Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) released a study and report titled “What’s in my baby’s food?” The report documented an investigation by HBBF, which involved scientific testing of early baby foods. The testing found toxic heavy metals in 95 percent of the products tested and further determined that one in four baby foods contained all three dangerous metals – arsenic, lead, and mercury.
The report highlighted that even “trace amounts” of these toxic contaminants “can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ.” The report stated that because these metals bioaccumulate, “the impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.” The report raised concerns about the harmful effects of these heavy metals on children’s health and called for immediate action to reduce or eliminate their presence in baby foods.
The HBBF report found that Gerber products were among the baby foods tested that contained detectable levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and/or mercury.
House of Representatives Investigation
In 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a Staff Report entitled Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury (the “Staff Report”). The Staff Report detailed the Subcommittee’s findings from an investigation into claims that major baby foods like Gerber were sold with high levels of toxic heavy metals. The Subcommittee investigation was based on lab test results and internal documents from baby food manufacturers.
The investigation results confirmed that Gerber and other commercial baby foods “are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.” The Staff Report also noted that exposure to these contaminants harms infants’ neurological development and brain function.
Heavy Metal Levels Specifically in Gerber Baby Foods
The Staff Report found unsafe levels of heavy metals in baby food products from seven of the largest manufacturers in the U.S., including Gerber, the world’s biggest baby food manufacturer. The Staff Report details the levels of toxins found in the various food brands based on testing. The levels of toxic metals in Gerber were lower than other major brands, but they were still well above the maximum safe levels set by the FDA.
And, then again, according to the House Subcommittee’s report, Gerber agreed to provide limited data in response to the Subcommittee’s request for information regarding heavy metals in baby food.
The report notes that Gerber only provided test results for four types of baby food products, despite being asked to provide information on a broader range of products.
Additionally, the Subcommittee notes that Gerber’s test results only included data for inorganic arsenic and did not include results for other toxic heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium.
Why? It’s pretty bold to just ignore requests from Congress, making you wonder what Gerber is hiding.
(a) Arsenic Levels in Gerber Baby Food
Arsenic is considered the most hazardous toxin-heavy metals covered by the Staff Report. In young children, exposure to arsenic is known to cause neurologic problems and damage the central nervous system.
The FDA and the EPA have set maximum safe arsenic levels for bottled water at ten ppb. The Staff Report found that Gerber baby food products used ingredients that contained over 90 ppb of inorganic arsenic based on lab testing. This is nine times the FDA maximum safe level.
(b) Lead Levels in Geber Baby Food
Lead is considered the second most toxic of the heavy metals that are known to pose a threat to human health. Lead exposure (even at small levels) is associated with a range of bad health outcomes, particularly neurologic and cognitive developmental issues in children.
The FDA’s maximum safe level for lead is five ppb in drinking water, 20 ppb in juice, and 100 ppb in candy products. According to the Staff Report, Geber used ingredients in baby food that tested as high as 48 ppb for lead.
(c) Mercury Levels in Gerber Baby Food
Mercury ranks 3rd behind arsenic and lead in terms of the most harmful heavy metals featured in the Staff Report on baby foods. Studies have shown that prenatal mercury exposure can lead to adverse neurologic development. More specifically, high blood levels of mercury in toddlers have been positively associated with “autistic behaviors.”
Mercury can be harmful even at extremely low levels. The FDA has capped the maximum safe mercury level in drinking water at two ppb. The Staff Report does not contain information on the levels of mercury in Geber baby foods because the Subcommittee relied on information provided by Gerber.
Here is something else amazing. According to the House Subcommittee report, Gerber only “rarely” tested for mercury in their baby food products. The report stated that in 2017, Gerber tested only 5 out of 87 samples for mercury, and in 2019, they tested only 4 out of 71.
The report also noted that Gerber’s testing methodology for mercury was not validated and did not follow EPA guidance.
(d) Cadmium Levels in Gerber Baby Food
Cadmium ranks fourth on the list of hazardous toxic metals in baby foods. Cadmium exposure in children has been linked to lower IQ and the development of ADHD. The FDA has set the maximum safe limit for cadmium in drinking water at five ppb. The Staff Report found that Gerber baby food products containing carrots were contaminated with cadmium. Over 75% of Gerber’s carrot foods contained over five ppb of cadmium, and some contained up to 87 ppb.
Heavy Metals in Gerber Baby Food May Cause Autism and Other Conditions
The toxic health effects of heavy metals are well recognized. Still, a growing body of scientific research is beginning to specifically connect exposure to these materials to autism, ADD, and other neurologic disorders. Many medical studies have identified a connection between regular exposure to heavy metals during gestation, infancy, and childhood and higher rates of autism.
A study published in 2014 looked at the impact of prenatal and early infancy exposures to mercury. The study concluded that mercury exposure resulted in a twofold increase in the risk of developing both autism or ADD. Three years later, a similar study on children in Korea found a similar association between mercury exposure and autism/ADD rates.
A possible connection between arsenic exposure and higher autism rates was identified in a meta-analysis study conducted by a research team at the University of Buffalo and published in 2019. A more extensive study was published the following year, which found the same positive association between autism and exposure to mercury, arsenic, and cadmium during infancy.
Gerber Baby Food Autism Lawsuits
The Staff Report regarding heavy metals in baby foods like Gerber has led to a number of product liability lawsuits against Gerber by parents claiming that their children developed autism (or other disorders). These lawsuits are partly based on the findings in the Staff Report, which clearly show that Gerber was aware that its baby food products contained heavy metals well above the maximum safe limits set by the FDA.
Since the Staff Report was published in February 2021, Gerber Products Company has been named a defendant in several consumer class action and product liability lawsuits involving toxic metals in baby food products. Our firm is currently seeking Gerber toxic baby food lawsuits.
Gerber Good Start Recalled Over Bacteria Risk
In March 2023, Gerber Good Start SoothePro brand baby food was recalled in the U.S. in response to concerns that the product may be contaminated with a dangerous and potentially deadly bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii. The FDA announced the recall on March 17, 2023 after the agency determined that certain lots of the popular baby food manufactured at a specific plant in Wisconsin may be contaminated with the bacteria.
To date, the FDA says that it has not identified any contaminated products from the Wisconsin plant, and the details of what prompted the concerns and the recall have not been released. A contamination outbreak with the same bacteria led to a massive recall of Similac infant formula in 2021. That outbreak was traced back to a manufacturing facility in Michigan and it sparked a national infant formula shortage. In response, the FDA tightened certain regulations and the recent Geber recall may be the first example of those stricter safety regulations in action.
Hiring a Baby Food Lawyer
Parents reasonably trust companies to sell baby food that is safe, nutritious, and free from harmful toxins. They certainly expect the food they feed their infants do not contain elevated levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury—substances known to have significant and dangerous health consequences, particularly for infants
If your child has been affected by exposure to toxic heavy metals in baby food and has experienced adverse health consequences, including the development of neurological developmental disorders such as autism, you may have legal options.
The evidence presented by the Healthy Babies Bright Futures report and the subsequent House Subcommittee investigation suggest that certain baby food manufacturers, including Gerber, may have knowingly sold products containing dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals.
Call Our Law Firm
Our law firm is dedicated to holding these companies accountable and obtaining justice for affected individuals and families. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights and options. Call today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or contact our law firm online.