Target, Nurture Inc., and Whole Foods Market are being sued in a class action lawsuit in California for allegedly selling Happy Tot brand baby food that may contain harmful levels of lead.
Lead should never be found in food products, most especially baby and infant food products.
According to the lawsuit, Happy Tot’s Cheese & Spinach Ravioli with Marinara Sauce includes 12 times the maximum allowed level of lead. At the same time, one of the brand’s Apples and Spinach Soft-Bakes Oat Bars contains more lead than an infant or toddler may ingest in a day.
In addition, Ecological Alliance claims the independent testing of infant food and other items indicated that the two Happy Tot products contained dangerously high amounts of lead.
Moreover, the complainant emphasizes that any degree of lead exposure is dangerous for children.
The tests were done to evaluate if the items qualified the California rules requiring manufacturers to inform customers about toxic substances.
According to the CDC, "Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavior problems
- Hearing and speech problems
This can cause:
- Lower IQ
- Decreased ability to pay attention
- Underperformance in school
There is also evidence that childhood exposure to lead can cause long-term harm.
Lead exposure in children is often difficult to see. Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms. If there’s suspicion that a child may have been exposed to lead, parents should talk to their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test. Healthcare providers and most local health departments can test for lead in the blood. Many private insurance policies cover the cost of testing for lead in the blood. The cost of blood lead testing for children enrolled in Medicaid is covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services."