A Staten Island mom is suing five baby-food brands after a recent congressional report found toxic levels of heavy metals in some of their products, new court papers show.
Michelle Walls says she bought baby food from Beech-Nut Nutrition company, The Hain Celestial Group Inc, Happy Family Organics, Gerber and Plum PBC between July 2020 and February 2021 — feeding the “tainted” food to her 1-year-old son for six months, according to a Brooklyn federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Then the mom saw the media coverage Feb. 6 about the congressional report, which revealed that there were “significant levels” of heavy metals including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in many baby-food brands.
Even low levels of these metals can cause “irreversible damage to brain development,” said the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.
“Shocked by what she read, she immediately stopped feeding [her son] the tainted Baby Food Products and returned the remaining products she still had,” the court documents say of Walls.
The mom is now planning to have a doctor check her son’s blood levels for heavy metals and “is also arranging” for her son to receive special-education services to help with any developmental delays “that may arise as a result of his consumption of elevated levels of toxic heavy metals in the tainted baby food products,” the court papers say.
Walls “is a dedicated and loving mother who places a premium on ensuring her son is healthy, and consumes food that will keep him healthy, growing and developing,” the documents say.
She relied on these five brands’ “representations and reputations” and considered their baby food and “especially their organic baby food, to be the ‘gold standard,’ ” the suit says.
Walls filed her lawsuit as a potential class-action case since many other people may have also fed their infants tainted food, the suit explains.
There have already been other US lawsuits filed based on the congressional report.
Walls is suing for unspecified damages and seeking additional testing for toxic heavy metals in the products.
“For years, these baby-food companies have known that their products contained high levels of toxic heavy metals,” said plaintiff lawyer Christopher Leung of the law firm Pollock Cohen LLP. “That’s unacceptable, and we intend to hold these companies accountable.”
A rep for the Campbell Soup Company, which owns Plum, told The Post in an e-mailed statement Friday, “Campbell is confident in the safety and quality of our products.
“The company does not comment on pending litigation, but we do intend to defend this case vigorously.”
Beech-Nut only said its products are “safe and nutritious,” declining comment on Walls’ suit.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the FDA, in partnership with the Baby Food Council, on science-based standards that food suppliers can implement across our industry,” Beech-Nut’s statement continued, adding that it is reviewing the subcommittee report.
Robin Shallow, a rep for Hain, said she can’t comment on pending litigation.
But Shallow said the company has worked with the FDA and “consistently supported efforts to reduce naturally occurring heavy metals from our food supply and stands ready to assist the Subcomittee’s efforts toward that goal.”
The two other companies did not return requests for comment.