California Not-for-Profit Group Files Suit Against Chocolate Manufacturers Over Toxic Metals
The American Environmental Safety Institute, a California not-for-profit group, yesterday filed a lawsuit against several large chocolate manufacturers, alleging that their products "contain enough lead and cadmium to pose a serious health risk," Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that the chocolate manufacturers have violated Proposition 65, a state law that requires companies to warn individuals "before they are exposed to hazardous chemicals" (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 5/9). AESI President Deborah Sivas said, "Our scientific research clearly shows that chocolate products contain lead and cadmium, heavy metal poisons also known to the state of California's health experts to be hazardous to human health" (Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal, 5/9). However, the state attorney general's office found that "lead in the chocolate products is not caused by human activity." Proposition 65 exempts products that contain toxic chemicals not added in the production process Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 5/9). In addition, FDA researchers have found that children younger than age six who eat large amounts of chocolate only consume "6% or less of the total daily amount of lead allowable by law." Michele Corash, an attorney for the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, said that lead and cadmium in chocolate does not pose a health threat. "We will vigorously defend the safety of our products. But out greater concern is getting the word out that these claims are totally without basis and are just designed to scare people," she said (Bridges, AP/Nando Times, 5/9). The lawsuit names Nestle USA Inc., Kraft Foods North America Inc., Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc., See's Candies Inc., Hershey Foods Corp. and Mars Inc. as defendants (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 5/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.