BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – A federal class action claims Mead Johnson & Co. lied about Enfamil, claiming that the baby formula is the only one on the market containing products “clinically proven to improve brain and eye function in infants.”
The class claims that when faced with competition from lower-priced rivals, Mead Johnson started a “smear campaign” against competitors.
The class claims that Mead falsely claimed that Enfamil with LIPIL was the only one containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), two lipid fatty acids found in breast milk.
Mead’s advertising slogans stated, “Store brands may cost less, but Enfamil gives your baby more” according to the complaint.
But the class claims that other brands of formula, including lower-priced products, contain DHA and ARA “in amounts equal to or greater than those contained in Mead Johnson’s product”.
The complaint states: “Mead Johnson, whose product enjoys significant brand recognition and sells at premium prices, faces tough competition from lower-priced stored brand products.
“Unable to meet this competition with superior quality, and unwilling to compete on price, Mead Johnson sought to increase sales by falsely representing to consumers that the product was the only infant formula product that contained DHA and ARA and that the product was the only infant formula product that was clinically proven to improve brain and eye function in infants.”
Mead Johnson failed to disclose that its testing showed that any formula with the same levels of DHA and ARA would be “equally effective in promoting brain and eye development in infants,” according to the complaint.
The class claims they were duped into buying the more expensive brand based on its misrepresentations. They seek an injunction and damages for deceptive trade and unjust enrichment. They are represented by F. Inge Johnstone of Birmingham.