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A group of consumers accusing a long list of baby food manufacturers like Gerber Products Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Walmart Inc. of selling baby foods containing high levels of toxic heavy metals want more than 40 similar suits coordinated in New York federal court, according to a motion filed Tuesday.
The consumers allege that they purchased baby foods — like oatmeal and rice cereals, purees and snacks — from manufacturers including Beech-Nut Nutrition Co., Hain Celestial Group Inc., Northern Castle Partners, Nurture Inc. and Plum PBC. They said they were “horrified to learn” that the companies knowingly sold products containing high levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.
The companies label their food as being healthy and nutritious for babies, and not containing any harmful ingredients or chemicals, the consumers alleged.
Many of the suits rely heavily on a report issued by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy in February that concluded seven major baby food manufacturers allow high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury to make it into finished foods.
The consumers are seeking damages and injunctive relief in their various suits, which are pending in 12 separate district courts.
The suit said by not attaching a warning label, Urban violated California’s Proposition 65 — also called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 — which underwent a standards overhaul in 2018 that tightened measures and brought forth a variety of enforcement suits.
Consumer Protection Group, the entity that filed the suit, called itself a “private attorney general” opening the suit for public interest. The group said in its Wednesday complaint that the binder-style planner in question contains carcinogens Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, and Diisononyl phthalate, or DINP, and claims the fashion company has “knowingly and intentionally” exposed consumers to these chemicals since August 2016. They asked the court to make Urban put Proposition 65 warning labels on the journal for future sales, penalize the company up to $2,500 per day for its alleged violation and make it pay the suit’s costs.