The product has been advertised since 2011, on television, in magazines and in a variety of other ways.
The first problem the FTC has with the campaign is that it claims the formula will prevent or reduce the risk of the child developing allergies.
The FCC says that Gerber has no scientific proof to substantiate this claim.
The second is Gerber’s claim that it has FDA approval to make the claim.
The FTC said that in fact, Gerber has FDA permission to make a claim about only one type of allergy, atopic dermatitis, in infants. And even in that narrow case, it was ordered to clearly qualify that the claim was made on the basis of “little scientific evidence.”
“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,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Gerber didn’t have evidence to back up its claim that Good Start Gentle formula reduces the risk of babies developing their parents’ allergies.”
The FTC commissioners voted 5-0 to authorize staff to initiate a lawsuit against Gerber in a federal court.