Kraft Heinz received a complaint last week in the Superior Court of California from Environmental Health Advocates, Inc. claiming that the company’s corn nut products contain the chemical acrylamide. The chemical is “a known carcinogen,” which the state of California has determined can cause cancer.
California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also called Proposition 65, states that a business should not expose a person to certain chemicals, including acrylamide, without providing a “clear and reasonable warning.” The defendants allegedly did not provide California consumers notice of the potential exposure to the product in relation to its corn nuts.
The defendants, including Kraft Heinz Foods Company, Ralphs Grocery Company, and individuals who are associated with the companies, such as partners and corporate employees, have allegedly exposed individuals to acrylamide while manufacturing, selling, and distributing Corn Nuts Chile Picante Con Limon and Corn Nuts Original. The defendants were further accused of being aware that consumers would be digesting a product containing the substance.
Acrylamide was identified in California as early as 1990 as a chemical that can cause cancer, and later in 2011 as a chemical that causes developmental and reproductive toxicity. The complaint said that the plaintiff issued a notice of violation more than 60 days before the lawsuit was filed, but the defendants did not fix the situation.
Environmental Health Advocates, an organization seeking to protect Californians by reducing toxic exposure, asked the court for injunctive relief by requiring the defendants to warn California consumers about the chemical. The Environmental Health Advocates claimed that the defendants are liable for a penalty of up to $2,500 per day for each violation of Proposition 65, as well as attorney’s fees.
The Environmental Health Advocates are represented by Glick Law Group, PC.