- Brief Summary: A U.S. government report concluded that Gerber knowingly sells baby foods that contain dangerous amounts of toxic heavy metals linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and ADHD. While other brands have issued recalls on products that tested above dangerous thresholds for arsenic in baby foods, Gerber has taken "no such actions to protect consumers."
- What We Are Saying: “The scientific literature shows a strong and consistent signal between exposure to heavy metals in young babies and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD. We believe Gerber has known that its baby foods are dangerous but the company refuses to take responsibility to protect children from harm.” – Baby Food Lawyer Pedram Esfandiary
- What You Can Do: Parents may choose to pursue a baby food lawsuit against Gerber, alleging the company knowingly sold baby foods with dangerously high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. If your child developed autism or ADHD after consuming baby foods from Gerber, you may be eligible to join a Gerber lawsuit.
Information on Gerber Lawsuits
- Is Gerber Baby Food Safe?
- Is Gerber Organic Food Safe?
- Why Are Heavy Metals in Baby Food Bad for Babies?
- Which Gerber Foods Have Heavy Metals?
- Is There a Gerber Food Recall?
- Do I Qualify for a Lawsuit Against Gerber?
- What is My Gerber Lawsuit Worth?
- How Do I Choose the Best Baby Food Lawyer for My Gerber Lawsuit?
Is Gerber Baby Food Safe?
No. Gerber food products have high levels of toxic heavy metals.
In February of 2021, a U.S. House Oversight subcommittee issued a report that found tremendous amounts of toxic heavy metals in baby food products from several major brands, including Gerber. The report stated that Gerber and other manufacturers "knowingly" sold baby food products like purees, cereal, and rice puffs that contain dangerous amounts of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Numerous studies have found links between these toxic heavy metals and neurodevelopmental disorders in children, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The report found the following:
Arsenic: Gerber used 67 batches of rice flour with over 90 parts per billion (ppb) of inorganic arsenic.
Lead: Gerber used ingredients in its baby food products that contained up to 48 ppb of lead. Many of Gerber’s ingredients tested over 20 ppb lead. The average amount of lead in Gerber juice concentrates was 11.2 ppb.
Cadmium: 3 out of 4 Gerber carrots tested for cadmium at levels above 5 ppb. Some contained more than 87 ppb of cadmium.
Mercury: Like many of the other baby food manufacturers mentioned in the subcommittee report, Gerber rarely tests its baby foods for mercury.
The same government subcommittee issued a follow-up report in September of 2021 that specifically called out Gerber for failing to properly test its products and issue a baby food recall. According to the September report, Gerber food products tested at above-average amounts of inorganic arsenic compared to Beech-Nut, another major baby food brand. But while Beech-Nut issued a recall on some of its products, the subcommittee said Gerber took "no such actions to protect consumers."
Is Gerber Organic Food Safe?
No, Gerber organic baby food products also tested high for toxic metals. Per the government subcommittee report, Gerber’s Organic Rice Cereal tested up to 76 ppb inorganic arsenic and contained, on average, 65.6 ppb inorganic arsenic. Gerber charges consumers 36.4% more for its Organic Rice Cereal than for its standard product, even though the levels of arsenic present in both are substantial.
Why Are Heavy Metals in Baby Food Bad for Babies?
Heavy metals are dangerous for young children because they consume more food in relation to their body weight and absorb heavy metals more readily than adults. Linda McCauley studies environmental health effects as Dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. According to McCauley, “[n]o level of exposure to these metals has been shown to be safe in vulnerable infants.” McCauley adds that exposure to several sources of heavy metals can cause cumulative effects that are particularly dangerous for babies.
Keep in mind that it is not just the presence of heavy metals in baby food that is harmful to babies and young children—it is the staggering levels present in the ingredients and foods.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows a maximum level of 10 ppb arsenic in bottled water. Gerber baby food ingredients tested at over 90 ppb arsenic.
- The FDA allows a maximum level of 5 ppb lead in bottled water. Gerber baby food ingredients tested up to 48 ppb lead.
- The FDA allows a maximum level of 5 ppb cadmium in bottled water. Gerber baby food ingredients tested up to 87 ppb cadmium.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows a maximum of 2 ppb of mercury in drinking water. Gerber rarely tests its products for mercury.
The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that babies and young children who are exposed to heavy metals may suffer from a permanent decrease in IQ, an increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior, and untreatable, potentially permanent brain damage.
For more information on the dangers of toxic metals, please read our expert reports:
Which Gerber Foods Have Heavy Metals?
Two government reports and testing from consumer advocacy organizations have found heavy metals in the following Gerber baby food products and ingredients:
- Arrowroot Biscuits
- Barley Single Grain Cereal
- Carrot Sitter 2nd Food
- Carrot Supported Sitter 1st Goods
- Conventional Carrots
- Conventional Sweet Potatoes
- Diced Carrots Veggie Pickups
- Flour Rice Long Grain
- Fruit & Veggie Melts Truly Tropical Blend Free
- Grape Juice White
- Multigrain Cereal
- Oatmeal Single Grain Cereal
- Organic Rice Cereal
- Organic Sweet Potatoes
- Probiotic Rice Banana Apple Cereal
- Rice Single Grain Cereal
- Sweet Potato Sitter 2nd Foods
- Sweet Potato Supported Sitter 1st Foods Tub
- Whole Wheat Whole Grain Cereal
You can read more about baby foods to avoid in our blog.
Is There a Gerber Food Recall?
As of April 2022, Gerber has failed to issue a baby food recall over heavy metals in food. The failure to recall its products is particularly concerning because the government baby food report issued in September of 2021 said Gerber “should recall two infant rice cereal product codes and consider discontinuing sales of its rice cereal.”
Per the report, Alaska state health officials tested products from both Beech-Nut (another major baby food company) and Gerber for heavy metals. The results of the testing were nearly identical: Gerber food products averaged 87.43 ppb inorganic arsenic, which was 2 ppb higher than Beech-Nut’s 85.47 ppb. Two Gerber products tested above 100 ppb for inorganic arsenic, which is above the FDA’s current limit for inorganic arsenic in infant cereal.
In response to the testing, Beech-Nut announced that it was recalling some of its infant rice cereal products and leaving the infant rice cereal market altogether. Even though Gerber products presented at least as much danger to babies as Beech-Nut products, Gerber “has taken no action to protect babies that could be harmed by its products,” the report stated. The subcommittee added that there “is no excuse for Gerber’s delay in recalling its dangerous products.”
Do I Qualify for a Lawsuit Against Gerber?
Yes, parents may file a lawsuit against Gerber and/or other baby food companies if their children consumed substantial quantities of baby foods and later developed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To join a Gerber lawsuit, the first thing you will need to do is contact a baby food lawyer taking on these cases and see if you qualify.
At Baum Hedlund, the process to see if you qualify for a Gerber lawsuit is simple. First, you contact our firm and one of our representatives will ask that you complete a case evaluation form. This will take about 15 -20 minutes to complete. Once we receive your case evaluation form, our legal team reviews it and responds to any questions you may have about filing a case.
What is My Gerber Lawsuit Worth?
Here is a general guide to how compensation might work in these cases.
A lawsuit seeks financial compensation called damages. Damages in a lawsuit against Gerber and/or other baby food companies are calculated based on, among other things, health care bills (money already spent and future costs of care), loss of earnings if a parent had to stop working to take care of their child, and the injury, pain and suffering caused to the child and family. There is also the possibility for punitive damages against Gerber and other companies. Punitive damages are exemplary damages awarded at the court's discretion when a defendant’s actions are particularly harmful.
Parents with children who have been diagnosed with autism or ADHD know that health care services for their children are often expensive and sometimes are not covered by insurance. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other services are necessary for children with these diagnoses. In many cases, therapies are needed for years.
A lawsuit seeks to compensate parents for these and other expenses because they never would have purchased Gerber baby foods (or foods from other companies) if Gerber had disclosed the dangers of toxic heavy metals on its food labels.
How Do I Choose the Best Baby Food Lawyer for My Gerber Lawsuit?
When choosing a lawyer for a case like this, there are a few things to consider. First, you want to make sure your lawyer has the experience and resources needed to win your case. Second, your lawyer should be committed to sending a strong message to baby food manufacturers: failure to protect the health of young children comes with consequences.
The attorneys at Baum Hedlund have a proven track record in mass tort cases involving consumer harm. In 2019, our firm and co-counsel won a $2.055 billion jury verdict in a case involving a defective consumer product that we alleged caused our clients to develop cancer. This historic verdict helped pave the way for settlement agreements worth nearly $11 billion for thousands of people with similar claims. Put simply, we know what it takes to go up against corporate giants and win.
Our baby food lawyers were among the first in the country to investigate this serious public health issue and pursue justice for parents. As of this writing, we represent well over 1,000 children from across the country in this litigation. Our firm filed the first baby food lawsuit in California and perhaps, the country, last year on behalf of a young boy named Noah who developed ASD and ADHD after consuming baby foods from Gerber and several other manufacturers. You can learn more about this case and the litigation in this episode of Spotlight on America, an award-winning investigative news program airing on 90+ TV stations across the country. The program includes profiles of our client, Noah Cantabrana, and interviews with Noah’s mother, Melissa Cantabrana, and Baum Hedlund baby food lawyer Pedram Esfandiary.