This is a proposed class action on behalf of a nationwide class (“Class”) and a California sub-class (“Sub-class”) (together, “Classes”) of consumers seeking redress for Defendant’s deceptive practices associated with the advertising, labeling and sale of its Vitafusion PreNatal Multivitamin Gummy (“Product,” “Multivitamin,” or “Gummies”) in violation of state consumer protection laws and common law.
Defendant Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (“Church”) is one of the biggest manufacturers of household goods in America today. It is publicly traded and estimated to be worth in excess of $3.5 billion dollars. It manufacturers hundreds of household and personal care products ranging from cleaning agents to pregnancy tests and is constantly acquiring new product lines to add to its portfolio. In the summer of 2012, Church acquired Avid Health Inc., a manufacturer of gummy vitamins and supplements, for $650 million. Among the brands Church acquired in that transaction was Vitafusion, self-lauded as the “#1 Adult Gummy Vitamin Brand.” Among its products, Vitafusion makes a PreNatal Multivitamin Gummy specifically formulated for pregnant women.
It is axiomatic that a diet in which one receives sufficient vitamins and minerals is critical to a healthy pregnancy. While the basic principles of healthy eating remain the same during pregnancy, certain nutrients are particularly critical.
One of these critical vitamins is folate or folic acid — a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects and serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord during fetal development. Folic acid has also been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth.
Pregnant women, and women considering pregnancy are routinely encouraged to get sufficient amounts of folate or folic acid before conception and throughout pregnancy. According to the Institute of Medicine (“IOM”) and the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”), women who could become pregnant should consume 400 micrograms (“mcg”) of folate daily, and women who are pregnant should consume 600 mcg of folate daily.
Because of the importance of folate, many foods are fortified with folic acid and pregnant women are encouraged to take multivitamins containing increased amounts of folic acid.
Although consumption of folic acid is critical, it is equally critical not to consume too much. According to the National Institutes of Health, folate that is naturally present in food is not harmful, but folic acid in supplements can be and should not be consumed in amounts above the Upper Tolerable Intake Limit (“Upper Limit”) established by the IOM.
For adult pregnant women, the Upper Limit for folic acid is 1000 mcg daily. Exceeding this Upper Limit has severe consequences.
Vitafusion’s PreNatal Gummy Multivitamin claims to contain 800 mcg of folic acid per serving—100% of the Recommended Daily Intake of that vitamin.
Contrary to its label, however, the Product routinely contains amounts of folic acid materially in excess of the claimed 800 mcg and well in excess of the tolerable Upper Limits.
By failing to label the folic content of its Product accurately, Defendant violates state and federal laws for dietary supplements, state consumer protection laws, and sells a Product that is potentially dangerous to both women and their unborn children.