Complaint Filed Against Abbott Alleging Misleading Infant Formula Product Label

Giovanna Smith filed a complaint Sunday in the Eastern District of New York against Abbott Laboratories Inc., alleging that the label of a toddler formula product made by the defendant was deceptive and that the product was not worth its selling price.

The product in question is the Similac Go & Grow toddler drink, a milk-based powder formula advertised to be suitable for 1- to 3-year-olds; there also exists an infant drink, the Similac Infant Formula with Iron, also a milk-based powder formula, targeted to children younger than 1. The plaintiff argued that the names and overall appearance of the packaging of the two products are “confusingly similar” and that the transition formula product does not offer added benefits that it claims to provide for growing toddlers.

“The labeling of the Toddler Drink … gives caregivers of children of the targeted age group the false impression that the Toddler Drink is the appropriate ‘next step’ for a child’s nutritional needs after the first year of life” and the false impression that “infants and young toddlers have identical nutrient requirements,” the complaint said.

The complaint also alleged that the defendant marketed the toddler drink as “superior to cow’s milk, in direct contravention of guidelines established by global health authorities for the nutritional needs of young children.” The complaint compared whole cow’s milk with the toddler drink, showing that whole cow’s milk has more calories, more protein, less fat, and fewer carbohydrates.

In alleging deception, the plaintiff called into question the value of the product: “Defendant sold more of the Product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers.” The plaintiff claimed that consumers would not have bought the product, “or would have paid less,” if the product had not misled them. The Similac toddler drink is “more than three times as expensive” as whole cow’s milk.

The plaintiff requested that the defendant correct the alleged misconduct of the product labeling and to be awarded reasonable monetary relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates P.C.