The Environmental Research Center has filed a lawsuit alleging that Manitoba Harvest USA LLC Corp.’s food products contain lead and cadmium levels exceeding the amounts permitted by California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). Envtl. Research Ctr. Inc. v. Manitoba Harvest USA LLC Corp., No. RG19038961 (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty., filed October 15, 2019). The complaint asserts that Manitoba Harvest “has knowingly and intentionally exposed numerous persons to lead and/or cadmium without providing any type of Proposition 65 warning” to “the public, who undoubtedly believe they have been ingesting totally healthy and pure products pursuant to the company’s statements.” The advocacy group seeks civil penalties, injunctive relief and declaratory judgment.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) has filed a lawsuit aiming to prevent the state from “enforcing a requirement to provide a false, misleading, and highly controversial cancer warning for food and beverage  products that contain the chemical acrylamide.” Cal. Chamber of Commerce v. Becerra, No. 19-0962 (E.D. Cal., filed October 7, 2019). CalChamber asserts that acrylamide “is not intentionally added to foods” but rather “is formed naturally in many types of foods when cooked at high temperatures or otherwise processed with heat.” The complaint argues that although “certain governmental and scientific entities” have identified acrylamide as a carcinogen, “[s]cientific studies in humans, however, have found no reliable evidence that exposure to acrylamide in food products is associated with an increased risk of developing any type of cancer. In fact, epidemiologic evidence suggests that dietary acrylamide—i.e., acrylamide that forms naturally in normal cooking of many food products—does not cause…
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has released the agenda for its September 19-20, 2019, symposium on synthetic food dyes. OEHHA is "conducting a risk assessment of the potential impacts of synthetic food dyes," focusing on dyes batch-certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The symposium, which can be attended in person or via webinar, will feature discussions of the toxicological studies used by FDA to evaluate synthetic food dyes as well as exposures to dyes in American adults' and children's diets.
A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Welch Foods Inc.'s grape juices contain excessive levels of lead and arsenic, citing a January 2019 article appearing in Consumer Reports. Labajo v. Welch Foods Inc., No. 19-1306 (C.D. Cal., filed July 16, 2019). The complaint also cites California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65), noting, "This Complaint does not allege a violation of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 is relevant, however, to the extent it provides information concerning the material omissions in violation of California's Consumer Protection laws, and guidance as to a reasonable consumer's purchasing decisions." The plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctions preventing fraudulent business practices and requiring disclosure of lead and arsenic content, restitution, damages and attorney's fees for alleged violations of California consumer-protection statutes.
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has confirmed that coffee will not be required to carry warnings about risks of cancer or reproductive harm mandated by the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). In a June 3, 2019, tweet, the agency stated that its "coffee regulation has been approved," finding that the chemicals "created by and inherent in roasting coffee beans or brewing coffee, do not pose a significant cancer risk." The agency indicates that the regulation will take effect October 1, 2019.
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed changes that aim to clarify the exposure-warning requirements of the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The proposed changes amend the section of Prop. 65 requiring manufacturers to notify retailers or intermediaries about products that may cause exposure to a chemical listed under the act. Comments on the changes will be accepted until December 31, 2018.
Shook Partners Paul La Scala and Naoki Kaneko, with Associate Emily Weissenberger, will join Western Growers Vice President and General Counsel Jason Resnick for a complimentary webinar on the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The webinar will cover (i) Prop. 65 warnings at facilities; (ii) product labels on packaging and websites; (iii) special considerations for the produce industry; and (iv) the anatomy of a Prop. 65 case.
The Center for Food Safety has filed a lawsuit alleging Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Inc. violates California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65) by failing to warn consumers that its children’s food products contain levels of acrylamide in excess of 0.2 micrograms per day. Ctr. for Food Safety v. Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, Inc., No. RG18915114 (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty., filed August 1, 2018). The advocacy group alleges that four of the company’s frozen vegetable products contain levels of acrylamide outside of safe-harbor limits and that none of the products carry the “clear and reasonable warning” required by Prop. 65. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, civil penalties and attorney’s fees.
Shook Partners Frank Rothrock, Naoki Kaneko and Chris Johnson, with Associate Emily Weissenberger, have presented a webinar on California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). Available on demand, the webinar covers an overview of Prop. 65 and strategies for managing its regulatory scheme.
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has determined that coffee will not be required to carry a label indicating that it contains chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm pursuant to the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65). According to the notice, "Coffee, a unique and complex chemical mixture made from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, contains many different compounds, including carcinogens listed under Proposition 65, and anticarcinogens. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the only Proposition 65 authoritative body to have evaluated coffee—concluded that coffee consumption is not classifiable as to its overall carcinogenicity and is associated with reduced risk of certain cancers in humans." Written comments on the determination will be accepted until August 30, 2018.