FDA’s Delayed Action Plan for Baby Foods Won’t Delay Consumer Lawsuit

In 2023, a New York district court dismissed three consolidated class actions against Beech-Nut, a baby food manufacturer, alleging that its baby food products contained elevated levels of certain toxic metals. The district court had agreed with Beech-Nut that it should abstain from addressing the plaintiffs’ claims, instead deferring to the FDA under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction.

On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed, finding that any advantages of deferring to the FDA’s expertise were outweighed by the potential costs of delay — noting that, since the district court’s decision, the FDA had abandoned its goal of finalizing action levels for lead in baby food, and proposing action levels for other metals by April 2024, now suggesting no final action to occur in 2024.

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