By: The Defender
In an interview on “RFK Jr. The Defender Podcast” with attorney Pedram Esfandiary, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Esfandiary examined how little oversight there is of baby food manufacturers and how the companies aren’t held liable for the toxins in their products.
Kennedy introduced Esfandiary as a colleague and professor of law at the Peoples College of Law in Los Angeles. Esfandiary specializes in toxic tort injuries, pharmaceutical drug liability, class actions, consumer fraud, litigation and police misconduct.
When asked about the known toxins in baby food, Esfandiary said:
“It’s truly shocking. Last year, a congressional subcommittee report came out detailing that there were significantly elevated levels of toxic heavy metals. I mean, we’re talking potent neurotoxins that can cause brain damage in children at very low levels.
“They found these metals in leading baby food brands sold across the United States and across the world. Actually, they found that these companies have sold these products and had repeatedly ignored both their own internal safety standards and that of the safety centers of regulators.”
The FDA has not set any limits for the presence of heavy metals in baby food, Esfandiary said. Without regulation, risks are overlooked.
“These baby food manufacturers basically regulate themselves, and it turns out that in the interest of profits, they simply didn’t care how much heavy metal was in the food,” Esfandiary said.
He added, “American children ate these foods and we have higher rates of autism all across the country in recent years.”
Kennedy and Esfandiary also discussed a new case of an 8-year-old boy with autism, whose condition, Esfandiary claimed, is directly related to ingestion of large amounts of commercial baby food.
Esfandiary outlined the case, saying:
“His name is Noah. He’s 8 years old. He has autism and ADHD. From a very young age, from 4 months old, all the way up until past the age of 3, he ate these baby foods. And we’re talking substantial amounts of them — because really some of these foods don’t pack that much nutrition in any given portion. So kids end up eating repeated portions throughout the day.
“And Noah was one of these children. He has been diagnosed with autism and it’s incredibly debilitating for him and his family. So we filed this case in LA State Court. We’re taking it to trial as soon as possible.”
Kennedy and Esfandiary also discussed the problem with organic baby food, and how much of it contains the same heavy metals from pesticide drift and water-table contamination.
“And one of the ironies of this case is that these particular products — many of them were labeled as organic. And they were marketed specifically to parents by telling them that this was safe for your child, that if you bought this, your child would be safe.”
“The other shocking thing about this case is that these companies knew they were poisoning the children,” Kennedy said.
“That’s right. It’s truly mind-numbing to just think about what this means for a second, because the documents that these companies have already given to congressional investigators show that they knew about this years and years ago, but for whatever reason, ignored it — and kept selling the product and didn’t bring it to Congress’ attention until 2021. I mean, they’ve been selling these products for years — over generations.”
Kennedy asked what the manufacturers allowed in their baby foods. Esfandiary gave some startling details:
“Their own internal documents that they gave to Congress show the magnitude of the problem we’re talking about. They had 1,000 parts per billion of arsenic in one of the ingredients … 100 parts per billion of lead. And just to put it in context, one part per billion of lead has been shown to be incredibly damaging to a human brain. So you think about it, you have 10 parts of a billion, 100 parts per billion. I mean, you are literally almost poisoning children at this point.”
Esfandiary also said some baby foods are relatively safe. Parents interested in learning more can get reliable information from Healthy Babies, Bright Futures.
Legal action is an option for parents whose children are suffering from toxic exposure, Kennedy said. He encouraged parents to contact Esfandiary, whose law firm is involved in a number of suits against baby food manufacturers.
“The best way to reform this kind of behavior in many cases is litigation. If these companies know that they can get away with anything they want with the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], the one place where they face justice — and are accountable for the harm they’ve imposed on our children — is in the courthouse.”
Watch the full interview here: