Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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DA’s Office Settles Consumer Protection Action Against Nabisco Ginger Snaps

Nabisco Ginger Snap Cookies Contained Lead Amounts in Excess of Warning Limits

Oakland, CA – Today, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with nine other California District Attorney’s Offices, the California Attorney General’s Office, and the non-profit Center for Environmental Health (CEH), has settled a consumer protection action brought under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (also known as “Proposition 65”) against Mondelēz International, Inc., formerly Kraft Foods, the maker of Nabisco-brand products. The complaint alleges that Mondelēz marketed and sold Nabisco Ginger Snap cookies that contained lead in amounts that exceeded the warning limits for lead exposure in California.

“Proposition 65 warnings provide vital information to every consumer, especially parents purchasing food for their families,” states DA O’Malley.

“My Office is dedicated to ensuring that every manufacturer complies with this important California law and that the citizens of this county and the State of California are informed about potentially unsafe substances in the food they consume.”

The suit was filed simultaneously with a consent judgment this week in Orange County Superior Court. The judgment is awaiting approval by an Orange County Superior Court judge.

The District Attorneys initiated an investigation of Nabisco Ginger Snaps in 2013 after being alerted by a CEH investigation about these and other cookies containing ginger. Testing of Nabisco Ginger Snaps revealed lead levels that should have triggered a warning label on the product. Experts linked the high lead levels to molasses and ginger used in the product.

In the settlement, Mondelēz agreed to strict testing protocols that limit lead in its ginger snap cookies to no more than 30 parts per billion per serving. In addition to paying over $750,000 in total civil penalties, costs and fees, the company has also agreed to fund ongoing independent auditing of its products and to monitor supply chains to ensure raw materials are within acceptable limits for lead.

The ten District Attorney’s Offices in the action are part of the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force, which prosecutes multi-jurisdictional actions involving product safety and labeling of food, drug and medical devices in California. Consumer Protection prosecutors from Alameda, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Napa, Shasta, Solano, Marin and Monterey Counties make up the task force.

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Posted on Jan 22, 2016