The Southern District of New York decided to consolidate multiple cases against Nurture alleging that its baby foods contain levels of heavy metals that could be dangerous to children. Similar lawsuits have been filed against other baby food companies, alleging that the companies advertised their products deceptively and should have disclosed the presence of the potentially harmful metals.
The order consolidating the cases was filed on Wednesday by Judge Mary Vyskocil. It explained that any actions against Nurture with the same allegations will be consolidated, specifically, consumer-protection cases. A separate order filed on Monday granted the motion to consolidate the sixteen cases. It explained that Nurture consented to the consolidation and that none of the plaintiffs had objected.
This order applies only to the cases that are filed solely against Nurture. Previously, some of the baby food companies facing similar allegations had asked for the cases not to be consolidated arguing that each baby food company had different machines and methods. The companies, including Nurture, also claimed that their products are safe for children and labeled properly. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled in June to deny a transfer of cases against multiple baby food companies into one court, agreeing with the defendants’ arguments.
Another group of 16 lawsuits with similar allegations against Hain Celestial were consolidated in May before the Eastern District of New York. That court denied a request to consolidate claims against Hain which include other defendants. Gerber asked that court to sever claims against it and move them to the District of New Jersey.
These allegations stem from a House of Representatives Subcommittee report, issued earlier this year, which claimed that the levels of heavy metals including lead in baby foods are not safe and could harm development. The FDA, however, responded that there is not an immediate risk and that children are likely to encounter more heavy metals eating foods that are not produced specifically for children.
Nurture is represented by DLA Piper.