SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state is filing a lawsuit against makers of baby food claiming their products contain toxic ingredients. It comes after a congressional investigation found products from Walmart, Kroger, and other brands contained high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
The Attorney General’s Office filed the complaint on behalf of New Mexico children, claiming negligence and false advertising. “Any company that harms New Mexican children will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas in a news release from the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. “Knowingly marketing toxic products to children in a state that already has the worst child welfare outcomes in the nation is unacceptable and outrageous, and so we are taking this action on behalf of all New Mexican families.”
According to the news release, the state is seeking damages, restitution, civil penalties, and other remedies. The lawsuit follows a report published in February 2021 by a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee, titled “Baby Foods Are Tainted With Dangerous Levels Of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, And Mercury,” according to the news release.
The Attorney General’s Office says the report stated that concentrations of lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium acknowledged by the food-makers to be in their baby products “are multiples higher than allowed under existing regulations for other products.” The news release states, for example, the FDA, EPA, and WHO have set allowable levels of toxins in bottled and drinking water, but, congressional investigators write, “The test results of baby foods and their ingredients eclipse those levels: including results up to 91 times the arsenic level, up to 177 times the lead level, up to 69 times the cadmium level, and up to 5 times the mercury level.”
According to the same news release, the AG’s complaint lists the following of individual products manufactured or sold by the defendants that, according to their internal documents, contain potentially dangerous concentrations of lead, arsenic, mercury, and/or cadmium:
- Beech-Nut, based in New York, disclosed at least 38 such products or ingredients;
- New York-based Nurture, which sells in New Mexico under the brand name Happy Baby, disclosed 16;
- Hain, also based in New York and selling products in New Mexico called Earth’s Best and Earth’s Best Sesame Street disclosed 22.