The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) is going to trial against baby food giants Gerber Products Co., Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp, Del Monte Foods and others, for failing to provide warning on their food labels that their baby food contains lead. ELF maintains that defendants' failure to warn consumers of the lead contents in the baby food, is violative of California Proposition 65. In support of defendants, the FDA stated that they have tested the alleged offending baby foods and have concluded that they contain levels of lead that are an "acceptable risk".
According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), more than 500,000 children in the United States suffer from lead poisoning. Excessive exposure to lead in children is widely believed to cause brain damage and low IQ, among other problems. That is one of the main reasons why lead was removed and banned from house paint in 1978. Gerber maintains that the lead is "naturally occuring" and cannot be prevented. ELF proponents maintain that no level of lead poisoning is safe for our children and that even if the lead was "naturally occuring", it should be removed before selling the baby food.
It seems that in today's society, there are innumerable acts of toxicity performed for pecuniary gain under the veil of "acceptable risk". The Judge in this case will have to decide just how "acceptable" the levels of lead are and if they require a label warming, Perhaps the real issue that should be decided, is whether or not it should be legal for companies to include toxic ingredients such as lead in our baby food in the first place.
This case is just another glaring example of how desparately we need full disclosure food label laws in the United States. There are far too many governmental agencies designed to protect the American people, that have become corporate puppets. "We the people" need to protect ourselves more than ever when it comes to our food arena. If you wish to avoid the ramifications of the toxic pitfalls in our food, consider the following:
1. Read all ingredients carefully and make sure you understand what is in the food you are buying.
2. Buy U.S. certified organic food whenever possible.
3. Refuse to buy products from food companies that do not support the consumer's right to know what is in our food.
4. Demand that your grocer supply foods with full disclosure labels on the food they sell.
5. Teach your children to appreciate the health significance of what is in the food they eat.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.