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Litigation Regarding Alleged Toxins in Baby Food To Proceed in Multiple Venues

On March 4, 2021, we posted “Are Your Baby’s Strained Carrots Safe?  Considerations for Manufacturers.”  Multiple plaintiffs had filed class action lawsuits in jurisdictions around the country alleging that baby food contained heavy metals and toxins and that manufacturers violated state consumer protection statutes.  The US Food and Drug Administration has not set the permissible levels for heavy metals in baby food, nor the testing and labeling requirements.  Some plaintiffs wanted the lawsuit to be part of a MDL, but the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced on June 7, 2021, that it will not consolidate the baby food lawsuits.  In briefing on the consolidation, manufacturers and some parent groups argued against the MDL because the issues were particular to the cases making consolidation improper.  For example, there were issues about the suppliers, testing practices, quality controls, selection of ingredients and additives, packaging, advertising, marketing, and labeling.  For now, the cases will proceed on an individual basis.

As a result, manufacturers will defend their respective practices in multiple jurisdictions across the country.  This provides each the opportunity to explain why its own standards are appropriate and were followed.  However, manufacturers will need to monitor the lawsuits of the other manufacturers for competitors’ arguments regarding the appropriate ingredients, testing requirements, labeling, advertising, etc. Until there is uniformity in the rules, manufacturers need to be aware of competitors’ positions and how juries react in different venues.

Copyright © 2021 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 166
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About this Author

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Christine is an experienced product liability litigation and regulatory compliance attorney with more than 20 years of experience defending manufacturers and laboratories in complex cases in which medical and scientific facts were at issue. She focuses her practice on food and beverage regulation and litigation, as well as smoking and health litigation.

In her practice defending food product manufacturers, Christine relies on her first-hand experience as a small business owner of a company that makes snacks inspired by the dietary restrictions...

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Jonathon A. Fligg Product Liability Attorney Womble Bond Dickinson Atlanta, GA
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Jon Fligg defends companies against high-stakes product liability claims. He works closely with clients in all phases of litigation from the initial planning of the defense of the case through discovery, trial and necessary appeals. For more than 20 years, Jon has represented clients in multiple industries and primarily represents tobacco manufacturers in product liability cases across the country. He has been on more than a dozen trial teams, including at counsel’s table, and has worked with numerous experts of different specialties supporting dozens of other trial teams.

Jon is a...

404-962-7541
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