Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. Sued For Selling Toxic Infant Formula

Jessica Alba received an early not-so-great birthday present when The Honest Co. was slapped with a new lawsuit. The complaint was filed by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

The Honest Co. is a Santa Monica start-up co-founded by the actress that sells over 100 consumer products described as both healthy and nontoxic. The new lawsuit had OCA alleging that the company has falsely labelled their Premium Infant Formula as “organic.”

The lawsuit stated that the company’s organic formula “contains 11 substances prohibited by federal law from organics.”

OCA also claimed that some of the ingredients of the infant formula have not been “assessed as safe for human foods – much less for infant formulas.”

A representative for Jessica Alba and the company fired back, saying that The Honest Co. product being singled out in the suit, the Organic Infant Formula, has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. The spokesperson added that the product meets all safety as well as nutritional standards.

“It is also certified USDA Organic by an independent third party, in strict accordance with the National Organic Program,” said the representative. “We are confident this lawsuit will be dismissed.”

This is not the first time Jessica Alba’s business has been hit by a lawsuit. The Honest Co., which boasts a $1.7 billion valuation from bearing eco-friendly products, has faced a string of lawsuits recently.

In February, one suit filed against the company claimed that they have been “falsely” and “deceptively” labeling their cleaning products as natural when it actually contains toxic ingredients. Further back in September of last year, a similar suit was filed. Both allegations have been slammed by the company as baseless and without merit.

This latest legal hurdle for Jessica Alba’s company comes on top of several reports that The Honest Co. may be on the lookout for a buyer instead of going public to continually expand its growth.

As the legal drama continues to surround the company that was founded in 2012, it can be said that the business principles that allowed the company’s rapid growth are now in danger of being undermined.

Bernhard Schroder, a marketing expert heading the Lanvin Entrepreneurship Centre Programs at San Diego State’s business school, remarked on the issue.

“They better be in crisis-management mode right now. They will have one good opportunity to handle the string of allegations; otherwise it will be a major hit to the brand.”

Just last month, a report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that several tests showed one of the company’s bestselling products, a liquid laundry detergent, contained a specific chemical. The household product was found to contain sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS.

This ingredient can cause skin irritation, and in previous statements, The Honest Co. has pledged never to use it.

Brian Lee, one of the company’s co-founders, went on to defend its detergent through the Times. He said that their company is “in the right” and that the Wall Street Journal “got things wrong.”

The Journal, however, stood by their story. It said that what they reported is the truth.

The latest lawsuit from OCA contends that the ingredients in the company’s organic formulas are prohibited by both federal and California law. Further, OCA is requesting the court to stop Jessica Alba’s company from selling its infant formula as “organic.”

Just last month, it was reported that Jessica Alba’s start-up company rakes in an annual sale of an estimated $250 million to $300 million. The Honest Co. sells a variety of home-care, personal-care, and baby-care products, all of which are sold from its website and at thousands of retail outlets nationwide.

[Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]