(CN) – A federal class action claims that more than 100 food products for babies and children contain dangerous levels of lead. Named as defendants in Denver are Coca-Cola, Gerber, Motts and the Hain Celestial Group. Named plaintiff Suzanne Kennedy claims the defendants produce dozens of supposedly kid-friendly products with lead levels that violate California’s safe drinking water standards.
The 54-page complaint claims to be a response to a host of “notices of violations” filed in June by the California-based nonprofit Environmental Law Foundation.
The Foundation tested “food product categories that children like and eat often and which the data showed had widespread presence of lead,” it said in a statement on June 10.
The Foundation claimed that its researchers found lead levels beyond that allowed by California law (.5 micrograms per day) in 125 products, primarily canned and packaged fruit and juices.
The Denver complaint, alleging violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment, cites a body of scientific research suggesting that children are more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults.
“Based on this empirical data and the fact that defendants’ conduct is directed at children who are more susceptible to chemical exposures, defendants needed to be particularly vigilant to ensure that their food products did not contain harmful chemicals that might have both short and long term health effects, even at potentially very small exposure levels,” according to the complaint.
Kennedy wants the companies to stop selling the products until they get the lead out, and damages for breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, and consumer law violations.
Her lead counsel is by Joe Whatley Jr. with Whatley Drake & Kallas of New York, N.Y.