Gerber Products Co., other baby food manufacturers, and parents on Tuesday urged the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation not to consolidate suits over allegedly high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods because the suits are too different and centralization would be inefficient.
In separate motions, parents and the companies said the panel should turn down a recent request by another group of parents, called the Albano plaintiffs, to send the suits to the Eastern District of New York. The suits lack sufficient facts in common because even though the companies all make baby food, each company’s product is made from different foods grown by different growers and bears different labeling.
However, one group of parents bringing racketeering claims said its suits should be centralized, but in a California federal court that is already handling five proposed class actions and several personal injury suits.
Parents alleged that various manufacturers produced baby foods with high levels of dangerous chemicals. The suits heavily rely on a February report by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy that concluded seven major baby food manufacturers allow high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury to make it into finished foods.
The baby food manufacturers maintain that their products are safe and properly labeled.