Two baby foods touted as safe and organic and that are sold at Target and Whole Foods contain alarming amounts of lead, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday asking that the two retailers be required to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” of the dangers before offering the products for sale.
Children who eat just one serving of Happy Tot cheese and spinach ravioli consume more than 12 times the maximum amount of lead a child can be exposed to in one day, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought by plaintiff Ecological Alliance LLC.
Whole Foods and Target are named in the lawsuit because they are the largest sellers of the two Happy Tot products, part of Happy Family Organics, according to plaintiff’s attorney Vineet Dubey, whose practice focuses on environmental litigation.
“Whole Foods wouldn’t sell an apple grown with pesticides, yet they keep selling baby food containing appalling amounts of lead to unsuspecting parents,” said Dubey.
Also named as a defendant is Nurture Inc., the parent company of Happy Family Organics, which owns 92% of Happy Family. The suit asks that the defendants provide a “clear and reasonable warning” of the alleged dangers of the products before offering them for sale. The suit also seeks and award of attorneys’ fees.
Representatives for Target and Whole Foods could not be immediately reached.
Lead poisoning can seriously damage a child’s brain and nervous system, stunt their growth and development and cause hearing and speech problems, and it cal also impact a child’s ability to learn and also manifest as behavior problems, according to Dubey.
“Let’s be clear, no amount of lead is safe for a child to consume, although low levels are allowed by law due to naturally occurring lead in the soil,” Dubey said. “Not warning parents of dangerous lead levels is a violation of California law, but it’s really a human rights violation. A baby food company should know lead hurts children and should never sell a product with this much lead.”