Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman changed its name to Wisner Baum in January 2023.

Baby Food Lawyer Q&A

Baby Food Lawyer Answers Your Questions

To better serve our clients and parents who want to learn more about this serious issue, we posed some commonly asked questions to baby food lawyer Pedram Esfandiary. If you have more questions or would like to learn more about pursuing a baby food lawsuit, please contact us or call (855) 948-5098 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

If your child developed autism or ADHD after consuming baby food products from Happy Family Organics (Happy BABY products), Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best Organics, Gerber, Plum Organics (Campbell Soup Company), Parent’s Choice (Walmart), or Sprout Organic Food, our lawyers are here to help you and your family fight for justice.

Wisner Baum Lawyers File First Baby Food Lawsuit in California

Wisner Baum filed a first-of-its-kind baby food lawsuit alleging several manufacturers knowingly sell products that contain dangerously high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Our clients, Lorenzo and Melissa Cantabrana, allege their seven-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD after consuming substantial quantities of baby food products from the following companies:

Baby Food Lawyer Videos

Please watch our video series where consumer attorney Pedram Esfandiary answers various questions about toxic metals in baby food and explains the litigation. Some of the questions include, “What are heavy metals and why are they in baby food?” and “Why are parents filing lawsuits over heavy metals in baby foods?”

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Information on Tainted Baby Food

Does my baby food have heavy metals?

Unfortunately, the answer is more than likely yes. Most baby foods have one or more heavy metal in them. According to the Clean Label Project, roughly 95% of baby foods contain at least one toxic heavy metal.

What baby foods have heavy metals in them?

The 2021 U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy report found heavy metals in foods from:

  • Beech-Nut
  • Campbell Soup – Plum Organics
  • Gerber
  • Hain Celestial Group – Earth’s Best Organic
  • Nurture – Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY
  • Sprout Foods – Sprout Organic Food
  • Walmart – Parent’s Choice

Before the 2021 House report on baby food, other independent testing found heavy metals in infant formula and baby foods from:

  • Baby Mum-Mum
  • Comforts (Kroger)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Cuétara
  • Deluxe Pasta
  • Ella’s Kitchen
  • Enfamil
  • Harvest Hill
  • Healthy Times
  • Kitchdee Organic
  • Kraft
  • Lil’ Dutch Maid
  • Little Duck Organics
  • Meijer
  • Nosh!
  • Nostalgia
  • NurturMe
  • Organics (Albertson’s)
  • Simple Truth Organic (Kroeger)

Check out our blog for more information on baby foods to avoid.

Which baby foods are safe?

Baby foods safe from heavy metals exclude ingredients like rice, fruit juices, sweet potatoes, or additives like premade vitamin mixes, all of which routinely test at high levels of heavy metals. If you are worried about heavy metals in the food products you serve your child, try substituting rice-based puffs for snacks made with other grains. Instead of fruit juices, try giving your child water.

If you want to evaluate your baby food for safety, we recommend the following resources:

  • Clean Label Project: Lists many baby food products using a star ranking system (one star for worst foods that tested high in contaminants to five stars for the best foods that tested low for contaminants).
  • Healthy Babies Bright Futures: Conducted testing on hundreds of baby food products and listed their findings.
  • Puremarket: Evaluates foods based on a grading system (F for foods that rank low for purity and nutrition, A for foods that rank high for purity and nutrition). You can also search for the products you regularly buy at the market to ensure they are safe from heavy metals.

Check out our blog for more information on baby foods without heavy metals.

Which heavy metals are in baby foods?

Government reports issued in 2021 found cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic in baby food products. Lead is arguably the most studied and well-known heavy metal in food. Roughly 1 in 10 children are estimated to consume more than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) daily allowable limit for lead.

Why are heavy metals in baby food?

Arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are environmental pollutants in the air, water, and soil that enter the food supply when plants take them up. According to the FDA, these toxic elements are “unavoidable in the general food supply.”

We do not believe this tells the whole story. Our baby food lawsuits maintain that companies are able to manufacture baby foods that are not high in dangerous heavy metals by using alternative ingredients, not adding certain pre-mix minerals and vitamins high in toxic metals, or sampling their ingredients from other sources.

Companies that manufacture baby food products should regularly test for toxic heavy metals to avoid their presence in the foods parents buy for their children. At the very least, baby food companies should warn unsuspecting parents of the existence of toxic metals in baby foods. Without robust safety standards, children are at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and ADHD.

Is there a baby food recall over heavy metals?

Yes. Walmart and Beech-Nut have issued baby food recalls for certain products.

The Beech-Nut baby food recall issued in June of 2021 was for Single Grain Rice Cereal item (UPC 52200034705) with expiration date 01MAY2022 and product codes 103470XXXX and 093470XXXX. Beech-Nut recalled the products because heavy metals testing indicated arsenic levels in excess of the FDA’s maximum allowable limit of 100 parts per billion.

The Walmart baby food recall issued in October of 2021 for Parent’s Choice (Walmart brand) Rice Baby Cereal 8 oz. The products include:

  • Lot 21083 | UPC Code #00681131082907 | Best if Used by Date: JUN 24 2022
  • Lot 21084 | UPC Code #00681131082907 | Best if Used by Date: JUN 25 2022
  • Lot 21242 | UPC Code #00681131082907 | Best if Used by Date: NOV 30 2022

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform’s second baby food report issued in September of 2021 noted that public health officials in Alaska tested Gerber and Beech-Nut products and found high levels of arsenic in both brands. Gerber infant rice food tested at 116ppb arsenic, an amount that surpassed the levels detected in Beech-Nut infant rice cereal. But while Beech-Nut issued a recall, Gerber did not. According to the report, Gerber “has taken no such actions to protect consumers” from the heavy metals detected by Alaska public health officials.

With little to no FDA restrictions, baby food manufacturers are free to set their own heavy metals standards for baby food. Until the FDA enacts robust rules for heavy metals in baby foods, government-imposed recalls are unlikely.

To stay updated on company-issued baby food recalls, Very Well Family maintains a recall list that is updated frequently. You can also review the FDA’s alerts and advisories for infant formula and other baby food products.

Are toxic metals in baby formula?

Some infant formula testing has revealed high levels of heavy metals. The two metals most commonly found in baby formulas are lead and cadmium.

In 2019, Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) conducted testing on several leading baby formulas. According to the data, all formulas contained detectible arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead. Of the 13 formulas tested, 12 had at least 1 ppb lead, and 6 of the 13 had at least 1 ppb cadmium.

What exposure to heavy metals is safe for my baby?

There is no safe level of heavy metals exposure for babies and young children. The FDA has set the maximum contaminant levels (MCL) in bottled water at 10 ppb inorganic arsenic, 5 ppb lead, and 5 ppb cadmium. The EPA has capped the allowable level of mercury in drinking water at 2 ppb.

The testing results of baby foods and their ingredients outlined in the 2021 House baby food report significantly exceed those levels. The report cited arsenic levels up to 91 times greater, lead levels up to 177 times greater, cadmium levels up to 69 times greater, and mercury levels up to 5 times greater.

However, it is important to note that the FDA and EPA created those limits in reference to adult exposure, not infants, which is why the high levels of heavy metals exposed in the government report are so alarming.

Can toxic metals harm my child?

Yes, studies have shown that exposure to toxic metals as a baby, toddler, or young child can cause neurodevelopmental harm, including autism and ADHD. While other variables, including genetics and exposure to other environmental factors, may also affect healthy brain development, the amount of toxic heavy metals in some baby foods is concerning. Our law firm is determined to hold companies accountable for knowingly selling baby foods tainted with high levels of dangerous heavy metals.

What is the FDA doing to stop heavy metals in baby foods?

Not nearly enough, though we hope that will change. In 2021, the FDA announced its “Closer to Zero” action plan to reduce heavy metals in baby foods to levels “as low as possible.” While the plan is a positive step toward protecting children from exposure to heavy metals, it will likely take more than what is in the current version of the plan to truly meet the challenge of reducing heavy metal levels in food closer to zero.

This issue has been around for years, and the FDA has done very little to protect children from heavy metals in their food. Baby food manufacturers are not required to test finished products for toxic heavy metals. No valid explanation exists for this absurd and dangerous policy except to ensure that manufacturers can freely do business without considering the risk to unknowing infants. Baby food companies do not even warn of the substantial presence of toxic heavy metals in their food. We are determined to change this via litigation.

How can I reduce my child’s exposure to heavy metals?

Read food labels before you buy: Pay close attention to the first couple of ingredients in the foods you buy. Ingredients are listed in order of predominance in the product. Some baby food pouches or blends may say “kale and pear” or “pumpkin and spinach,” but in reality, the first couple of ingredients are sweet potatoes, which should be avoided as they typically test high in heavy metals.

Foods with a long list of ingredients should be avoided, as should rice-based foods or foods that include additives like premade vitamin mixes. If you are unsure, check Puremarket to see how your foods rate for heavy metals.

Breastfeed if you can: Some infant formulas test high for heavy metals, so avoid formula feeding if you can. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months, then continued breastfeeding for one year or longer as complementary foods are introduced and as mutually desired by mother and infant.

Serve water, not fruit juice: Some fruit juices for kids test for heavy metals at high levels. Sweeten your child’s water with lemon or give them sliced whole fruits rather than packaged fruit juices.

Try making your own purees and baby foods: While most people may not have time to do this, the benefits of making your child’s food at home can help your child avoid heavy metals and other contaminants from packaging and manufacturing. Making baby food can be cost-effective as well, as you can choose which ingredients fit your budget and your child’s taste. If you want more information on getting started making your own organic baby food, we recommend checking out this book.

Do organic baby foods have heavy metals?

Unfortunately, serving certified organic baby food products from some manufacturers does not necessarily help your child avoid heavy metals. While organic foods are lower in pesticide levels and have less impact on the environment, testing has shown that some organic baby foods are no safer than conventional foods when it comes to heavy metals.

In 2018, Consumer Reports analyzed 50 nationally distributed packaged foods manufactured for babies and toddlers. Twenty of those products labeled organic were just as likely to contain heavy metals as non-organic products.

How Baby Food Lawsuits Work

Is my baby food lawsuit part of a class action?

No. The type of cases we file are called mass torts. These lawsuits are filed on behalf of parents whose children were diagnosed with autism or ADHD after being exposed to baby foods from several leading brands.

How is a mass tort different than a class action lawsuit?

In class action lawsuits, everyone has the same or significantly similar injuries. Therefore, all participants (aside from class representatives) will receive similar amounts of compensation at the end of the case.

A mass tort groups together individual claims or lawsuits before the same court and judge to avoid duplicative discovery and ensure consistent application of laws and procedures. Because the cases are still individual lawsuits, the amount received will not necessarily be uniform. The amount of compensation is based on the actual damages (physical, emotional, and economic) that you have as an individual.

We believe that mass torts offer the best of both worlds when it comes to litigation. By grouping many cases before the same judge, costs are kept down, as any expert testimony, travel, and expenses incurred during discovery can be divided across the whole group. The compensation you receive will more accurately reflect your level of harm instead of being doled out equally to a person who potentially suffered less. Class action lawsuits serve a good purpose. In the baby food litigation, an individualized claim is in parents' best interest.

Do I have a baby food lawsuit?

The easiest way to determine if you have a baby food lawsuit is to fill out our contact form for a free and fast case evaluation. We will review your case immediately and contact you within a matter of days if you are eligible to pursue a lawsuit.

You may have a case if your child developed autism or ADHD after consistently eating baby foods from the following brands:

  • Beech-Nut
  • Campbell Soup – Plum Organics
  • Gerber
  • Hain Celestial Group – Earth’s Best Organic
  • Nurture – Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY
  • Sprout Foods – Sprout Organic Food
  • Walmart – Parent’s Choice

How much is my baby food case worth?

It is impossible to predict how much money you could receive from a successful baby food lawsuit. Each case has different damages associated with it, and the extent of a company’s wrongdoing is often not fully discovered until our attorneys get deeper into the litigation process.

Victims generally may be eligible to receive compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost income
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
  • Other damages

How long will my case take to resolve?

These cases can last years or be completed relatively quickly, depending on the whims of the companies involved. Mass tort lawsuits often last more than a year, but beyond that minimum estimate, the timelines for each case are impossible to predict.

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    In May of 2019, the jury in the case of Pilliod et al. v, Monsanto Company ordered the agrochemical giant to pay $2.055 billion in damages to the plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a Bay Area couple in their 70s.

  • Toxic Torts $289.2 Million Verdict

    On Aug. 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages to Mr. Johnson, a former groundskeeper who alleged exposure to Monsanto’s herbicides caused him to develop terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Fatal Train Crash $265 Million Settlement

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  • Pharmaceutical Settlement $105 Million Settlement

    Wisner Baum obtained $105 million on behalf of multiple clients involved in a pharmaceutical negligence case.

  • Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. $80 Million Verdict

    Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorneys served on the trial team in the case of Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, which resulted in an $80 million jury verdict for the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman.

  • Paxil Pediatric Class Action $63 Million Settlement

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  • Third-Party Payer Class Action $40 Million Settlement

    $40 million third-party payer class action re off-label promotion of Paxil. Judge approves $40 million settlement in the second phase of national pediatric paxil class action – insurance companies to be reimbursed.

  • Defective Drug Class Action $28 Million Settlement

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  • Duck Boat & Bus Crash $20 Million Verdict

    Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorney Timothy A. Loranger served on the trial team in the case of Dinh et al. v. Ride the Ducks International et al., which stemmed from the 2015 crash in Seattle, Washington between an amphibious duck boat vehicle and a charter bus filled with college students.

  • Whistleblower Settlement $18 Million Settlement

    Wisner Baum secured an $18 million settlement against the Boeing Company for overcharging the U.S. government on aircraft maintenance.

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    A ranking in The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” is widely regarded by both client and legal professionals as a significant honor. It is considered the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

  • The Truck Safety Coalition
    The Truck Safety Coalition

    Wisner Baum is proud to be a sponsor of The Truck Safety Coalition, a a group of caring individuals dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes. Our support enables them to help families and save lives.

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    California Powerhouse

    Law360 recognizes law firms that have a strong regional presence, working on important matters within their home state. “[Wisner Baum] possesses a David v. Goliath-sized slingshot while seeking justice for everyday citizens it believes were harmed or killed through corporate wrongdoing.”

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    Elite Trial Lawyers

    NLJ and American Lawyer Media honor law firms and attorneys as Elite Trial Lawyers for their cutting-edge legal work on behalf of plaintiffs in practice areas ranging from mass torts to securities litigation.

  • Listed in Best Lawyers
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    Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

  • AV Top Ranked Law Firm
    AV Top Ranked Law Firm

    Less than one-half of one percent of firms across the nation have achieved this ranking. A firm must have a high percentage of lawyers who have achieved the prestigious AV® Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.

  • Verdicts Hall of Fame
    Verdicts Hall of Fame

    The National Law Journal inducted Wisner Baum into the Verdicts Hall of Fame for obtaining the $2 billion landmark verdict in the Roundup cancer case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto. The verdict was #1 in California and #2 in the U.S. in 2019 and is #9 in American history.

  • Super Lawyers
    Super Lawyers

    Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100
    National Trial Lawyers Top 100

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  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
    AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

    An AV® rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence. The rating signifies the highest legal ability, and very high adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.

  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
    Avvo 10.0 Rating

    Wisner Baum is proud to have all of its lawyers listed in Avvo, a legal directory connecting people in need of legal services with lawyers and connecting lawyers to lawyers. Eight of our attorneys have earned a 10.0 perfect rating with Avvo.

  • Top Jury Verdict in <br> CA and USA
    Top Jury Verdict in
    CA and USA ranks our $2 billion verdict in Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto as the biggest verdict in California and the second largest verdict in the U.S. in 2019. It is the ninth largest verdict in U.S. history.

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    Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers

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    Product Liability Practice Group of the Year

    In 2020, Law360 honored the law firms ”behind the litigation wins and major deals that resonated throughout the legal industry.” It recognized our success in several landmark cases.

  • Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California
    Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California

    In 2018, our $289 million Johnson v. Monsanto verdict was the largest personal injury verdict in California. also ranked it #2 among all verdicts in California and #10 in the nation.

  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
    Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

    The Bar Register is the definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in America. It includes only those select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field.


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