Group To Sue Potato Chip Manufacturers To Require Acrylamide Warnings
The Environmental Law Foundation on Thursday filed notices that it planned to sue potato chip manufacturers to require them to include cancer warnings on product packaging, the Los Angeles Times reports. ELF said lab tests found that 12 types of potato chips manufactured by Lay's, Kettle Chips, Cape Cod and Pringles contained excessive levels of acrylamide, a chemical produced during the cooking process that has been shown to cause cancer in the reproductive organs of lab animals.
ELF said that for every product tested, a one-ounce daily serving exceeded levels that require cancer warnings under Proposition 65, California's anti-toxics law.
A Frito Lay representative said that "there is no scientific evidence that the presence of acrylamide in food causes illness."
Warnings are required for chemicals that could cause more than one cancer per 100,000 residents over a lifetime of exposure. Some potato chips tested posed a risk of one or two cancers per 1,000 residents, according to ELS.
Under Proposition 65, citizens groups can file a notice with the attorney general alleging that the public has not been warned about exposure to a chemical in a product. The attorney general then has 60 days to decide whether to take the case on behalf of the people of California. If the attorney general refuses, any group or citizen can sue the manufacturer.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Bill Lockyer's (D) office said that lawyers there had not seen the notices.
The state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has proposed raising the level of acrylamide that requires warnings.
ELF President James Wheaton said all of the potato chips tested would exceed the proposed levels (Cone, Los Angeles Times, 6/17).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday reported on the filing. The segment includes comments from Wheaton (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 6/16). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.