The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has threatened to bring lawsuits against Plum Organics and Gerber Products Co. for allegedly deceptive trade practices in the marketing and labeling of their food products for babies and toddlers. In its May 11, 2015, letter addressed to Gerber and its parent company Nestle S.A., CSPI notes that the company labels several of its products in the 2nd Foods, 3rd Foods and Graduates lines “as being composed of certain healthful ingredients, when, in fact, the Products contain substantial amounts of other less healthful, less valuable ingredients, such as apple juice, that are not identified at all on the [principal display panel].” Similar allegations appear in the letter addressed to the heads of Plum Organics concerning the company’s baby food and 4 Essential lines.
The letters assert that both companies market the products as containing high amounts of “healthful, high-value ingredients, such as kale, quinoa, blueberries, and green beans,” when they are mostly composed of “less healthful, less-valuable ingredients, such as apple juice or apple puree” as well as pear juice. “Plum and Gerber are cheating parents financially, and robbing kids nutritionally, with these elaborate bait-and-switch schemes,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson said in a press release. “If they were actually proud of the major ingredients in their products, wouldn’t they name them on the front of their packages?” The letters warn Gerber and Plum Organics that, should they fail to “resolve their illegal and deceptive advertising” by correctly representing “the presence and proportions” of ingredients on the product labels, CSPI will pursue litigation to seek a permanent injunction and disgorgement of profits. See CSPI Press Release, May 12, 2015.