A lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General claiming that Nabisco Ginger Snap cookies contain nine times the amount of lead allowed according to California law has settled for $750,000. The California Attorney General, alongside 11 district attorneys, brought the action against parent company Mondelez International, originally part of Kraft Foods, in the County of Orange on January 21, seeking damages according to California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also known as Proposition 65.
Lead poses serious risks to humans due to its properties as a neurotoxin. The ingestion of lead affects the central nervous system and can result in severe injuries like cancer, reproductive disabilities, birth defects, and even death. When children consume lead, they face even more serious symptoms and illnesses, including developmental delay, sluggishness, and vomiting. Adults who ingest lead over a sustained period of time commonly exhibit symptoms like memory loss, abdominal pain, mood changes, and high blood pressure.
Proposition 65 was approved in 1986 as a voter initiative and designed to address some of the increasing issues assocaited with toxic chemical exposure. Under the law, which is administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California is required to research, produce, and maintain a list of chemicals that pose cancer risks, birth defects, or other reproductive issues. The state must reexamine the list each year and provide any necessary updates. Since its first publication in 1987, the state has added roughly 800 harmful chemicals to the list.
The law also places a duty on businesses to provide warnings when a product for sale contains a significant amount of a chemical included on the list, including offices, homes, consumer goods, and other items. The intent of this requirement is to allow consumers to understand the potential risks associated with a product before purchasing it. Under the law, businesses in the state are also precluded from discharging substantial quantities of chemicals included on the list into a body of water used to source drinking water.
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the defendant must engage in a high level of product and source testing protocols to guarantee that its cookies do not contain lead above 30 parts per billion per serving. California launched its investigation into the cookie maker when the Center for Environmental Health issued a report stating that the ginger snaps contained a high level of lead, which was later tied to the molasses and ginger used to make the cookies. Lead had entered the soil near where the ginger and molasses were grown. Sources of lead were also noted in the defendant’s manufacturing process.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of contaminated food or toxic exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have the experience and skill it takes to litigate a claim involving complicated chemicals and illnesses. Our talented team of trial lawyers has provided counsel to victims throughout the United States, including in Florida, Illinois, New York, and California. Contact us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your free consultation today.