Several Baby Food Companies Accused of Above Average Lead Levels in Product
A lawsuit has been filed against Gerber, Del Monte, Beech-Nut, and several other baby food companies that alleges they distributed product containingabove average levels of lead without carrying the warning labels mandated under California law.
The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) filed the suit, and so far in the trial, the companies’ lawyers claim to have tests from the FDA that state that the lead levels in the products questioned are below average, and therefore don’t need a warning.
Jim Wheaton, an attorney for the ELF, countered saying that the companies’ analyses stated average lead levels across several combined products instead of focusing on levels of each individually. Wheaton said, “Under their argument you could consume the entire (legal limit) of lead in one day, so long as you didn't eat any more of it over the rest of the month."
Court documents from the ELF state that no level of lead is considered safe for babies or pregnant women, and "even when studying the low level of exposure that is typical in the dietary context, scientists have not been able to identify a level of exposure that is without any health risks."
The companies also argue that the lead contained in their product is naturally occurring in the some of the fruits and vegetables used in production, so if the judge finds this to be true, the judge could rule to exempt them from posting the warning completely.