Feds Investigate Popular Breakfast Cereal

FDA Investigate Lucky Charms

There appears to be an issue with the cereal product, Lucky Charms,  as the Food and Drug Administration said it was “reviewing and investigating” reports of adverse episodes.

A consumer protection website said it had received over 1,000 complaints about problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

The company said it took “the consumer concerns reported via a third-party website very seriously.”

However, “Through our continuing internal investigations, we have not found any evidence of consumer illness linked to the consumption of Lucky Charms,” the company added.

To report health issues related to a tainted box of Lucky Charms or any other consumer product, send an email to MPHotline.fsis@usda.gov.

Kinds of Product Defects

People of all ages have eaten Lucky Charms for decades.

Aside from the addition of a few additional marshmallow shapes, the formula hasn’t changed. Therefore, this cereal most likely doesn’t have a design defect. If that was the case, people would have become sick a long time ago, especially given the symptoms these victims experience.

Toxic additives, like the glyphosate in Roundup, are a bit different. Cancer and other chronic illnesses often have extremely long latency periods.

These victims might be sick for decades and not know it. Therefore, these problems don’t become public knowledge for many years.

Note we said the problem doesn’t become “public knowledge.”

Frequently, the companies that make products with design defects know about the problem, but they do nothing to correct it. From a numbers standpoint, it’s often cheaper to pay lawsuit settlements than to fix a manufacturing problem. And, most companies only care about their bottom lines.

Most likely, a few bad batches of Lucky Charms entered the stream of commerce. Some possible manufacturing defects include:

  • Imbalance of chemical ingredients,
  • Dirty work area,
  • Improper storage,
  • Use of cheap ingredients, and
  • Improper product handling.

Usually, manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their defective products cause.

A New York personal injury attorney uses the strict liability rule to protect victims and obtain the compensation they need and deserve. This role is especially important since government watchdogs often don’t effectively protect people.

FDA’s Safety Regulation Authority

The news media often says that the Food and Drug Administration recalled a dangerous food, medical device, or other product. But, the FDA cannot legally recall anything.

This agency can only pressure manufacturers into issuing voluntary recalls. As mentioned, product makers usually hesitate to recall products. They want to sell as many units as possible in order to make the highest profit possible.

Over the years, numerous bills have been introduced, which would give the FDA the power to unilaterally recall dangerous products. Predictably, most industries oppose these measures, and their lobbyists are able to kill these bills, often before they see the light of day.

Moreover, a product recall does nothing to compensate victims. Instead, these families are stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and other damages.

The FDA receives almost half of its money not from taxes, but from user fees.

The more products that are sold, the more money these industries have, and the more money they pay. In other words, the FDA has a powerful financial incentive to hold off on recall recommendations unless there is undisputed evidence of a serious problem.

There’s usually some dispute in one or both of these areas. If the FDA fails to act, a private attorney steps in, not only to obtain compensation for victims, but also to make the product safer for everyone.

Your Claim for Damages

Defective product exposure injuries are rather straightforward. But these cases are quite complex from a legal standpoint.

These claims usually don’t qualify for class action status.

Everyone’s Lucky Charms experience is a little different. People buy the cereal from different retailers, store it in different ways, and so on. At the same time, a defective product injures so many people that courts cannot possibly handle the cases on a piecemeal basis.

So, federal courts usually combine class actions and individual actions.

The courts consolidate defective product claims for pretrial purposes. So, a single judge supervises settlement negotiations and rules on pretrial motions. If claims don’t settle out of court, they usually go back to their home jurisdictions for trial.

This setup is complex, but it usually benefits victim/plaintiffs.

Companies like General Mills, the firm that makes Lucky Charms, have incredibly deep pockets. They use these resources to fight defective product claims tooth and nail. Pretrial consolidation enables victim/plaintiffs to pool their resources.

If a defective product injures someone in your family, you can count on the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC to protect you and work to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.