Beech-Nut Exits Market Following Voluntary Recall
On June 8, 2021, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company issued a voluntary recall for one lot of its Beech-Nut Stage 1, Single Grain Rice Cereal (“Cereal”). The rice flour used for the Cereal was tested and confirmed as being below the FDA guidance level, set at a 100 ppb or 100 µg/kg, for inorganic arsenic. However, a routine sampling program by Alaska found that Cereal samples tested above the guidance level for naturally occurring inorganic arsenic set by the FDA in August 2020.
As some of our readers may remember, Beech-Nut was named in a congressional report by the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy with relation to the levels of heavy metals—including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury—found in baby foods. Since that report, Beech-Nut has been involved in two class-action lawsuits for allegedly misrepresenting Beech-Nut baby foods are “real food for babies” and failing to disclose the presence of dangerous levels of heavy metals. Most recently in April 2021, the DC Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Beech-Nut for “misleading parent-consumers about the health and safety of its products.” The New York Attorney General similarly announced an investigation into arsenic levels in infant rice cereal products and the advertising and promotion of such products.
In addition to voluntarily recalling the Cereal, Beech-Nut has decided to exit the market for infant rice cereal products, citing concern over the ability to consistently obtain rice flour well-below the FDA guidance level and Beech-Nut specifications for naturally occurring inorganic arsenic.