A lawsuit filed in New York state alleges that the confectionery giant Hershey “fails to disclose” that some of its chocolate products “contain dangerous levels of lead and cadmium.”
A New York man, Christopher Lazazzaro, filed suit in federal court on Long Island on December 28. The lawsuit against the mass-market chocolate maker, which in 1988 acquired the license to produce Cadbury products in the United States, is seeking class action status.
The suit came two weeks after Consumer Reports published an article Hershey dark claimant Chocolate outdated products California standards for the maximum permissible dose (MADL) for lead and cadmium.
There are no federal limits for lead and cadmium for most foods. Consumer Reports scientists used the California standards because they considered them “the most protective available.” The report states that the lead content of Hershey Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate the bar passed the Californian MADL.
The lawsuit filed in New York cites other Hershey items highlighted in Consumer Reports’ exposé, including Lily’s Extra Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa and Lily’s Extremely Dark Chocolate 85% Cocoa.
Hershey’s acquired Lily’s in June 2021 for $425 million, depending on the company.
The lawsuit argues that consumers look to product packaging and labels before making a purchase. He alleges that Hershey’s advertising and marketing are “false, misleading and misleading” because they fail to disclose alleged high levels of lead and cadmium.
“Elevated levels of lead and cadmium in food products are important to sensible consumers because these chemicals pose a serious health risk, even in small doses,” the lawsuit states.
Consumers had no independent way of knowing the lead and cadmium content of Hershey products before purchasing them, the suit says, because the levels cannot be determined “without extensive and expensive scientific testing.”
Customers therefore rely on Hershey to be “truthful about ingredients, including the existence of lead and cadmium, in products,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that Hershey “knew and could not have been unaware of the existence of lead and cadmium in the products”, given that it sources the ingredients and manufactures its products with “proprietary knowledge of quality control testing. on the products and ingredients contained in the bridle”.
Lazazzaro claims to have believed he was buying products that contained “only dark chocolate ingredients”, and therefore “paid a premium” to do so. Due to alleged “misrepresentations and omissions” about the presence of heavy metals, Lazazzaro claims that he and other consumers “have suffered harm commensurate with the premium paid”.
Hershey and Lazazzaro’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lazazzaro does not appear to allege that he suffered lead poisoning from eating Hershey chocolate. The lawsuit focuses on alleged wrongdoing related to marketing practices.
Exposure to high levels of lead can cause health problems including anemia and weakness. Extreme cases of lead poisoning can cause kidney and brain damage. Children exposed to lead are at risk of brain and nervous system damage, learning and behavior problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cadmium can be dangerous when ingested in large amounts, according to the CDC.