Three similar lawsuits were filed against Target Corp., Gerber Products Co. and Mead Johnson & Co. alleging their “transition” formulas intended for 9- to 18-month-old children are misleadingly marketed as reviewed and monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the same extent infant formulas are. Gavilanes v. Gerber Prods. Co., No. 20-5558 (E.D.N.Y., filed November 15, 2020); Gordon v. Target Corp., No. 20-9589 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 15, 2020); Palmieri v. Mead Johnson & Co., No. 20-9591 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 15, 2020).

The complaints assert that the use of the infant formula nutrition panel on the back of the packaging “gives caregivers the impression that the Product is subject to the same scrutiny and oversight as Infant Formula products,” causing buyers to be “less likely to identify the added sugar in the Infant & Toddler Formula Product, in the form of corn syrup solids, absent from the Infant Formula product.” The plaintiffs argue that “transition” formulas were introduced to “make up for declining sales of infant formulas” and are “practically identical to infant formula in that they are based on milk powder with added nutrients.” Further, “Transition formulas use a statement of identity that uses the words infant and toddler interchangeably, even though the two groups have different dietary needs.”

The complaints each allege fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment as well as violations of New York’s consumer-protection statutes and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.