Snacks giant settles lawsuit over lead in cookies

DA's Office sued to stop the high heavy metal levels in Nabisco ginger snaps

Mondel International, the world's largest manufacturer of processed food snacks, including Nabisco, Oreo, Cadbury and Trident, will stop selling ginger snap cookies containing levels of lead that were up to nine times the limit for one serving without a warning label, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced on Friday, Jan. 22, after the company and prosecutors reached a settlement.

Ten district attorney offices and the state Attorney General's Office began looking into Nabisco Ginger Snaps in 2013 after being alerted by an investigation into high lead levels in products containing ginger by the nonprofit group Center for Environmental Health. Lead in the cookies was linked to supplies of molasses and ginger, Rosen's office said.

"Lead is a neurotoxin that affects virtually every organ system, primarily the central nervous system, and particularly the developing brain. Children are at a greater risk than adults of suffering from the neurotoxic effects of lead. While no safe lead exposure threshold has been identified, California's Proposition 65 limits lead exposure to .5 micrograms per serving per day without a warning," Rosen's office said in a press release.

Mondel International agreed to a settlement that includes limiting lead in its Nabisco Ginger Snaps to no more than 30 parts per billion per serving. Yen Dang, supervising deputy district attorney for the Consumer Protection Unit, said that level is the equivalent of .03 micrograms, considerably under the state limit.

District attorneys consulted with a Proposition 65 expert from the Attorney General's Office to develop the testing and processing protocols so there would no longer be violations of the law, she said. Mondel International must adhere to the strict testing protocols. The company will also fund ongoing independent auditing of its products for lead, and it will monitor its supply chains to ensure raw materials are within acceptable limits for lead. It will also pay $823,750 in civil penalties, costs and attorney fees, according to Rosen's office.

The settlement has a potential worldwide impact on the safety of processed snack foods, Rosen's office said. The auditing protocols and changes in supplier specifications by a company as large as Mondel should have a significant impact on the way other companies screen for lead in processed foods, Rosen's office said.

"Public health is paramount. I'm pleased that this business has taken responsibility and taken steps to make sure their snacks are safe," Rosen said.

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4 people like this
Posted by Smittymap
a resident of Danville
on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

I found a lot of weird things in some Oreo cookies. I took pictures and then sent them half of the cookies. They were very secretive about a lot of things. We had many phone calls and emails . Oreos are made in Mexico as many of their other cookies. They would not tell me what else was produced in factory that they came from. Finally, they said it was polyester and offered me money, a very small amout. After several weeks of fighting, I just gave up. I will never buy anything made by Nabisco again. Check where your cookies are made before you buy them. Nabisco closed some factories in mid west and put many people out of work just to move production to Mexico.

Like this comment
Posted by Wolf Wolfman
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2016 at 3:51 am

Maybe the high lead content is due to lead in the water supply in Mexico

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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