Facing a recently filed putative class action lawsuit over the labeling and marketing of its toddler formula, baby formula manufacturer Gerber has asked a federal judge in Chicago to dismiss the suit arguing that reasonable parents buying its toddler formula couldn’t possibly be misled by the claims on its Good Start Grow products. The motion comes on the heels of the dismissal of a second class action lawsuit involving Gerber’s formula by a Virginia federal judge earlier in the month.
In her complaint, plaintiff Melissa Garza alleges that Gerber makes a toddler formula that is marketed as nutritional, but which actually contains added sugars and less protein than cow’s milk. Garza alleges that Gerber’s Good Start GentlePro Infant Formula and Good Start Grow Toddler Drink are marketed nearly identically without disclosing that the toddler formula has added sugar, less protein and more carbohydrates than whole cow’s milk.
The complaint alleges that Gerber’s failure to adequately distinguish the two products and disclose that its toddler formula is inconsistent with expert advice constitute violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the consumer fraud acts of other states and the federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and has unjustly enriched Gerber. Garza seeks to represent herself and a class of individuals in Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah who purchased Gerber’s toddler formula.
The toddler formula, which the complaint refers to as a “transition formula” (a term Gerber takes issue with in its motion to dismiss), contains nearly the same ingredients as Gerber’s infant formula and is fortified with vitamins D and E as well as iron. However, Garza alleges that a global consensus of pediatric health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition and the relevant Sub-Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) have advised that transition formula is not recommended and that toddlers can meet all nutritional needs from whole cow’s milk, water and healthy foods. Continue reading ›