PEDIASURE CLASS ACTION INVESTIGATION
In response to a public health crisis from excessive added sugar consumption, health authorities such as the American Heart Association (“AHA”), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the World Health Organization (“WHO”), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) prescribe an upper limit on the amount of added sugar that can safely be consumed by adults and children on a daily basis. These limits are grounded on scientific evidence which shows that excessive sugar consumption is harmful to the human body and causes chronic metabolic disease.
Parasmo Lieberman Law filed a class action lawsuit in California state court against Abbott Laboratories, Inc., a health care company that manufactures, markets, and distributes PediaSure Grow and Gain and PediaSure SideKicks - popular "nutrition shakes" designed for children ages two to thirteen. Plaintiffs allege that the company leverages its status in the health care and pharmaceutical industries to gain the trust and confidence of consumers shopping for healthy food choices for their young children. Plaintiffs allege that by prominently placing the statements such as “Complete Balanced, Nutrition” “Balanced Nutrition to Help Fill Gaps” “Nutrition to Help Kids Grow,” and “Use as part of a healthy diet,” on the PediaSure labeling, Abbott misrepresents to consumers that the products are healthy options that provide balanced nutrition.
According to the lawsuit, Abbott’s labeling and advertisements are deceptive and misleading because the pediatric nutrition shakes are neither healthy nor balanced–they are highly processed, sugar sweetened beverages consisting of predominantly sugar and water. Added sugar is one of the first three ingredients in each of these products, and is allegedly present at levels that are incompatible with the AHA and FDA’s upper limits for safe consumption of added sugar.
The complaint alleges that PediaSure contains a higher percentage of added sugar (ranging from 20% to 45% of total calories per serving) than the daily “safe” percentage of added sugar allowed by the AHA, the FDA, and the USDA. For example, during the class period, a child who consumed two bottles per day of the Grow and Gain shakes, as recommended by Abbott, consumed a total of 46 grams, or approximately 11 teaspoons of added sugar, which is nearly double or quadruple (depending on the child’s age) the AHA’s upper limit. This is more sugar than is found in a single 12-ounce can of cola, which contains approximately 8 teaspoons of added sugar.
Plaintiffs also allege that Abbott’s placement of a #1 PEDIATRICIAN RECOMMENDED BRAND” emblem on each of the PediaSure products is materially misleading as it contradicts the medical consensus that recommends against consumption of high amounts of added sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages, in particular, as being detrimental, and not beneficial, to children’s health. Plaintiffs allege that consumers reasonably believe that PediaSure is beneficial to children’s health and wellness and that there is an evidence-based medical consensus supporting the health and wellness claims.