Gerber Attempts to Dismiss Suit Over "No Preservatives" Claims

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Gerber Defends Its 'no Preservatives' Labels Amid Lawsuit, Stating Vitamin C's Nutritional Role Does Not Equate To Preservative Use In Baby Snacks.

Gerber is pushing back against a lawsuit accusing the brand of misleading consumers with "no preservatives" labels on its baby food snacks. The company's recent memorandum to dismiss the proposed class action lawsuit argues that the presence of Vitamin C—or ascorbic acid—in their snacks does not equate to the use of preservatives, as these ingredients do not serve a preserving function in the products in question.

Gerber’s response to preservative allegations

In its memorandum, Gerber contends that the "no preservatives" claim on its snack labels is accurate, arguing that the function of ingredients should dictate their classification. The brand emphasizes that Vitamin C in their products serves a nutritional role, not as a preservative, and therefore, consumers have not been misled by the labeling.

The plaintiffs’ accusations

Leading the charge in this proposed class action are two New York parents who have taken issue with the “No Preservatives” claim on certain Gerber snacks, including Yogurt Melts and Fruit & Veggie Melts. These parents motivated by a quest for healthier snack options for their children, allege that they were enticed by the “clean” food promise—products free from synthetic additives and minimal processing—and felt betrayed upon learning that the snacks might contain what they consider preservatives.

The plaintiffs point out that citric acid, ascorbic acid, and sodium ascorbate—all present in these products—are acknowledged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and food scientists for their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which contribute to food preservation by maintaining freshness and flavor. The lawsuit posits that these properties categorize them as preservatives, contrary to Gerber's claims.

They claim that this misconception influenced their decision to purchase the snacks, and had the product labeling been more transparent, they might have either paid less or chosen not to buy the products at all.

The plaintiffs are represented by Alec Leslie and Julian C. Diamond of Bursor & Fisher P.A.; Nick Suciu III, Erin J. Ruben, and J. Hunter Bryson of Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman PLLC.

The Gerber preservative free class action lawsuit is Smith et al. v. Gerber Products Company, Case No. 7-23-cv-09834, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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