You want the best for your baby – especially when it comes to their food. And when you’re searching the shelves for the healthiest food for your child, there’s a good chance you’ll be drawn to the product stating “Supports Healthy Growth & Development” as opposed to the other products making no such claims – AND will trust that claim based on the difference in price between the two.
The more expensive food product must be the healthier one, right?
That is what one consumer was led to believe, and in 2012 filed a suit against Gerber and Nestle, which was later dismissed in 2013.
BUT, there is good news for parents!!
On April 19, 2017, the Ninth Circuit revived the 5-year-old suit against Gerber and Nestle for mislabelling their baby food products. The labels in question contain the statements: “excellent source”, “good source”, “as healthy as fresh”, “no sugar added”, and “natural”. The company’s products also claim to be good sources of vitamins C and E as well as iron and zinc, and to “support growth and development”.
The initial dismissal of the case was reversed and remanded by a panel of Ninth Circuit judges stating that “Bruton’s theory of deception does not rely on proving that any of Gerber’s labels were false.” Rather, that “Bruton contends that the combination of (a) the presence of the claims on Gerber’s products (in violation of FDA regulations), and (b) that lack of claims on competitors’ products (in compliance with FDA regulations), made Gerber’s labeling likely to mislead the public into believing that Gerber’s products were of a higher quality than its competitors’ products.”
While Bruton’s theory of deception is unusual, the panel agreed that “technically correct labels can be misleading”.
Do you feel that you were tricked into buying Gerber baby food products because of their labels?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.