Plum Organics Can’t Ditch Toxic Baby Food Claims


A California federal judge refused Monday to toss a proposed class action alleging Plum Organics failed to disclose potential toxins in its baby food products, finding that the claims aren’t preempted by federal law and that the suit plausibly alleges a reasonable consumer could be duped by the alleged omissions.

At the end of an hour-long virtual hearing, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled from the bench, rejecting Plum PBC’s arguments that claims brought by a proposed class of parents are preempted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s disclosure requirements.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers noted that Plum hasn’t identified specific laws or regulations that conflict with the requested disclosures and the FDA hasn’t weighed in on the specific disclosures or said the agency plans to.

The judge denied Plum’s motion to dismiss on all but one claim, tossing a breach of implied warranty allegation. But she gave the plaintiffs a chance to amend their claim.

The ruling is the latest development in litigation that was consolidated in March against the Emeryville, California-based food-maker. The amended complaint alleges that Plum’s baby foods are sold to consumers under the brand name Plum Organics with misleading packaging that fails to disclose they contain heavy metals, or that there is a risk they contain heavy metals and perchlorate, a chemical that can affect thyroid function.

Testing has shown high levels of arsenic in Plum’s “Super Puffs,” and the company’s own testing shows its baby foods contain levels of lead that exceed the standard for bottled water, the parents claim.

The litigation is one of several suits filed against baby food manufacturers following a report issued in February by an economic and consumer policy subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives that found some commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic metals, like arsenic.


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