Gerber Sued by FTC for Deceptive Claims About Baby Formula
Gerber Products Co., a division of Nestle (NSRGY), was charged by the FTC with falsely claiming the FDA had approved it to tout the alleged allergy-related benefits of its Good Start Gentle infant formula. The FTC lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting Gerber from making such claims.
"Parents trusted Gerber to tell the truth about the health benefits of its formula, and the company's ads failed to live up to that trust," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "Gerber didn't have evidence to back up its claim that Good Start Gentle formula reduces the risk of babies developing their parents' allergies."
Gerber Denies the FTC's Claim
Gerber said it didn't violate the law. "We believe we have met, and will continue to meet, all legal requirements to make these product claims," Kevin Goldberg, vice president and general counsel for the New Jersey-based company, told The Associated Press. "According to the complaint, it's possible that at some point the FTC will ask the court to require that Gerber issue consumer refunds," the reported.
The FTC said Gerber started advertising Good Start in 2011 with the claim that it was designed to help babies born into families whose members are predisposed to suffer from allergies. Good Start Gentle sells for about $24 for a 23.2-ounce package of powdered formula, according to the FTC. Some examples of ad claims that the FTC has taken issue with:
- "You want your baby to have your imagination ... Your smile ... Your eyes ... Not your allergies."
- "First and only routine formula to reduce the risk of developing allergies."