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People trying to take away our chocolate

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This came in my mail. I feel it's important enough to justify posting the whole article. There are people who are trying to take away our Chocolate.

Case Summary
Environmental Group Wants Warning Labels on Chocolate Products

Jun. 14, 2002
Toxic Chemicals Litigation Reporter
Copyright (c) 2002 Andrews Publications. All rights reserved.

If an environmental group gets its way, chocolate products in California would have to carry a warning label stating, "This product can be hazardous to your health and contains high levels of lead and cadmium." American Environmental Safety Institute v. Mars Inc. et al., No. BC273433, complaint filed (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County, 08-MAY-02). The American Environmental Safety Institute has filed suit against six candy manufacturers for not disclosing the amount of toxic chemicals in their products as required by California's Safe Drinking and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

The group is suing Mars Inc., Hershey Foods Corp., Nestle USA Inc., Kraft Foods North America Inc., Rocky Mountain
Chocolate Factory Inc. and See's Candies Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court, charging that high levels of lead and
cadmium in chocolate pose a serious health risk.

The group is seeking an injunction requiring warnings on chocolate products, restitution to people who purchased the
products without receiving the warnings and civil penalties.

Refuting the charges, Michele Corash, an attorney with the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, said that California
Attorney General Bill Lockyer has already reviewed the allegations in the lawsuit and determined that they lack merit.

"This lawsuit is simply a shameless attempt to exploit a well-intentioned law for financial gains," she said.

In a statement, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association included a letter from Lockyer, dated Sept. 28, 2001, which stated in part: "It is unusual for the Attorney General to publicly state that he has received a matter under Proposition 65 and determined that it is not appropriate to proceed on the claim. Nonetheless, because these [chocolate] products are consumed by so many Californians, we think it is important for the public to be aware that the Attorney General's decision not to commence a civil action in this matter is based on a conclusion that the action would lack merit, after through consideration by this office."

Corash said federal health officials and food safety experts have found that the minute traces of naturally occurring minerals like lead in chocolate pose no risk to consumers.
post #2 of 20

Re: People trying to take away our chocolate

what next? should we all get into hermetically sealed bubbles and never come out? :) i guess the next thing would probably be not to mix your chocolate with milk. it might cause some sort of reaction, like the craving for more. ;) hmmm, i wonder how chocolate covered cheerios would be?
kat
post #3 of 20
The question of the day:

Hmmmm, why do chocolate manufacturers put lead and cadmium in chocolate?
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #4 of 20
Relax Kimmie, they don't. These are naturally occuring chemicals in minute quantities found in many foods we eat. Like we shouldn't eat potatos either because they contain arsenic. There is a fringe element out there that thinks we should stop eating and breathing because we might die :rolleyes:

Jock
post #5 of 20
Lawyers with way to much time on there hands and in California , imagine that . California has a rep as the sue me state of the US.
Food kills and OJ Simpson was innocent , darn the courts sometimes .:bounce:
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #6 of 20
I see nothing wrong with requiring that mfgers warn us of any toxic substances in the foods we eat.

While there are perhaps minute amounts in this or that food, we are subjected to a vast array of chemicals and toxins in our environment that can be harmful in themselves and may have synergistic effects when they are taken together. And I while I will agree with anyone who objects, if we don't know the effects of these interactions we can do little or nothing to counteract them, I do think it is worthwhile to make people aware of the situation. There are many substances that we once thought innocuous or even beneficial only to later learn that they can be deadly dangerous (asbestos, lead, tobacco, thalidomide, etc.) In addition, there are many substances that are not absolutely dangerous when used moderately but that might be harmful to some people (allergies, pregnacies, impaired immune systems, diabetes, etc.) or by people who indulge excessively (alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat, fat, etc). Knowledge of such things allow us to make better informed choices.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #7 of 20
Alexia , your legal background is showing . What I wanted to say was that lawsuits and litigation should be based on good , not bad . There is potential for harm to our bodies with any food or beverage consumed excluding pure water . Where must the falasy end ? Lets be real and enjoy life instead of fearing it because of greedy people . Chocolate is a food of the gods and it seems that for litigators to pick on this is more to make a name for themselves then to try and help people . Of course this is just my opinion . Doug:chef:
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #8 of 20
Sorry, chefboy. I have NO legal background. My comments were directled only to my (and others') desire to know what it is we are taking into our bodies and was not meant to suggest chocolate should be "banned." OMG! no chocolate? Never. Sugar? Fat? Neither will I give up using cadmium yellow, cobalt blue, or lead white when I paint (wearing gloves, thank you), but knowing their properties helps me to handle them safely. And I am thankful that so far the ban on their commercial use does not extend to the painter's studio. But, ignorance is not a necessary preamble to pleasure.

Some things are necessary for proper body function (salt and fat spring to mind) - but in moderate amounts. To totally eliminate them from our diet would be unhealthful. To use too much of them may also be unhealthful. Just as we cannot live without food, we also may not live as long or as well if we eat too much or too much of the wrong foods for our particular bodies.

Other things not required for our health, seem to some people to be psychologically necessary even if they may inflict damage to our physical being. I do not mean either to suggest that substances such as alcohol, tobacco be banned and can see the Libertarian argument for legalizing some drugs such as marijuana. OTOH, I drink very moderately myself and have never used tobacco (having seen someone close to me die of lung cancer when I was a child just as the public was becoming aware of the dangers of tobacco). When I make apricot preserves I hammer away at the pits for the seeds to add their flavor - even though I know that they contain some cyanide. But would I munch away on them as if they were almonds, No. On occasion I make food that contains raw eggs. Would I serve it to a pregnant DIL? No. We need information to make our informed choices. Would I eat beef in England? Mostly no, though I might chance it for the signature dish at a great restaurant.

And when we are eating manufactured foods, I believe it is important that mfgers inform us of their contents.s If it has red dye in it, I may still eat it, but I want the opportunity to not do so. If I were allergic to peanuts, it's important that its presence be noted. And so on.

If we are to have a system where substances are not literally "outlawed" because they might be dangerous to some people under some conceiveable circumstances, then we should be able to expect full disclosure of what it is that we eat, drink, and breath. We need that information so that we can personally avoid those things that might be harmful to us to use even though others can use them with impunity. And such a system also depends upon the right to sue those who abuse our trust by deceiving us and/or enticing the unsuspecting or those unable to make informed choices (children, for instance). Just as individuals must assume the concequences of their choices, so must corporations and other businesses. If they know something might be dangerous to either a few or many people and do not disclose that, then I have no sympathy for them having to suffer lawsuits.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #9 of 20

One Californian's Opinion

Back in the mid 80's there was a law enacted which, if memory serves is called the "Clean Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act". Otherwise known as Proposition 65.
The broad intent of the law was to protect California's drinking water supply by prohibiting the dumping of toxic waste in such a manner that it would contaminate water tables. Additionally, it required operators of any business to warn employees or others who may be affected of any substance present that may cause them harm. Any visitors to California may have noticed wanings posted in parking garages for example, saying that, "There are chemicals present known to the State of California to cause cancer". Or in bars and restaurants, signs warning folks of the effects of alcohol on pregnant women. These are a result of Prop 65.
This speaks to Alexia's comments on public awareness of the dangers we all face daily from toxins in the environment. And as such, I for one fully support Prop 65.
However, some extremists at the time were pressing for outrageous misuses of the law for which it was never intended. For example, they said that on a restaurant menu, not only should the food items be listed but also any chemicals in the food (incluing those that occur naturally.) So, your menu would read, "PB&J, contains ..... whatever chemicals".
The same groups (or something like them) are probably behind this chocolate thing. When the cocoa bean is picked from the tree it contains trace amounts of lead and selenium. Not because some evil person added them but because nature did.
I am all for being informed but these people are not acting on my behalf when they take a fundamentally good law and abuse it for their own distorted ends.

Jock
post #10 of 20
I must have missed something in the original posting. Aren't these people simply pressing for labeling and penalizing those who do not do so?

The companies named appear to be the ones marketing to children and the mass market. It seems appropriate to me to be sure that people understand their products contain lead which is going to affect children more than adults. I don't know enough about the facts in this case to have any opinion as to whether they should be retroactively liable.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #11 of 20
I agree that all ingredients should be on a label. Natural or added, doesn't matter.
The fact that its mainly kids chocolates, do kids care about a label stating whats inside, I say 95% do not. But for the 5% and the Adults who do care 6%(myself included) it should be there.
If its actually an extra label stating dangerous to your health like tobacco, its just one step closer to Mcdonalds having to put unedable on all there burgers!
Both long and rich, full of intense flavours, new discoveries, unexpected contrasts.
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Both long and rich, full of intense flavours, new discoveries, unexpected contrasts.
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post #12 of 20
Now that's funny!:bounce: :D I can think of many things that would have that label! I propose a new label for purveyors whos foodstuffs are really that bad.......Ecch!!! means Everyone can croak here!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #13 of 20
I'm very glad this frivolous chocolate lawsuit was thrown out. I do agree with Proposition 65; however, this chocolate lawsuit was a total misuse of this law. The only reason chocolate has minute traces of lead, cadmium and other toxic metals is because those metals occur naturally in soil. It's not only chocolate that has traces of these minerals but also everything that is grown in soil. Our beef, pork, lamb and other meat supply also contain these minerals. Absolutely everything edible at the grocery store would have to be labeled "Contains traces of lead and cadmium" including organic produce. The most terrible thing about this lawsuit is that it's likely to become an urban legend and there will be people out there who will believe that a Hershey bar is poisonous. It may not be the best chocolate in the market and some people may not even consider it chocolate, but it has no more toxic metals than Scharffen-Berger or Vahlrona.
post #14 of 20

Information Overload!!!!!

As a practical matter if we are innumndated with more information than we are capable of processing the information itself becomes meaningless.
Packaged foods have their ingredients listed and as an informed consumer I can make decisions on what to eat or not. Already I have more information than I can process but I have a broad general notion of what is good and what is not. As Risa says, everything we eat or drink has some component that in a greater quantity might do us some harm. I don't need a detailed list of what they are unless and until they appear in such a quantity that they would harm me. And at that point they would be prohibited anyway, would they not?
When we talk about the lead in chocolate, a kid would have to eat such a huge amount of the stuff to accumulate enough lead to cause harm that he would die of diabetes or obesity before lead even became a risk.
I guess the point is, common sense. There is enough information out there for us all to be informed if we choose to be. I know that fast food is generally bad for me. I know that the benzine in gasoline is a carcanagen. I know that the lead in chocolate is harmless.

Jock
post #15 of 20
This remind me of the hot coffee suit....



Are there somewhere in the world people who are paid to come up with ridiculous suit?
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #16 of 20
Yes and these people are Lawyers ( California realy leads the way in these kind of lawsuits ) .

Whats the difference between a dead skunk in the middle of the road and a dead lawyer in the middle of the road ?
There are skidmarks in front of the skunk !

What do you call 500 lawyers wrapped in chains and drowned in the middle of a lake ?
A good start .

Remember Shakespears famouse quote , " The first thing we need to do is to kill all the lawyers "
Nice thread Kuan and keep stirring the pot my fellow chef .
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #17 of 20

Back to the labeling

Labeling alcohol and cigarettes with warnings have not limited consumption as far as I can tell.

Our country is big on the right to know thing right now, so it makes sense.

Maybe its a ploy by some kind of diet gurus. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a news story on the local news on how the state I live in ranks in the highest with obesity problems.
Maybe they're just trying to scare us all away from bad things like chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate, my husband and I celebrated our second anniversary with a nice pot of chocolate fondue for dessert last night. Mmmm... that lead and cadmium tasted quite good!!

~~Shimmer~~:bounce:
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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post #18 of 20
back to lawsuits;
the other night i happened to catch the tail end of a news broadcast about a group in massachusetts that wanted to sue fast food corps. for making them fat. seems they plan to sue saying that food corps. know that when they super size meals they are serving high calorie products, thus making them become obese. i guess self restraint doesn't figure into the picture.
post #19 of 20
I'm not sure that I don't want to be warned something harmful to me,but, the intent of these attorneys is to set the playing field to attack the corp. with deep pockets for damages.
on a different note.
I wish someone would start to represent family members who wish to sue the persons cooking for them daily who spread more foodborne illness than all the restaurants put together.That doesn't sound rediculous does it?
Hey did anyone catch the show' restaurants from ****'? Is this old or something new?
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #20 of 20
Don't get me wrong, there is no love lost between me and lawyers. But I don't think the legal profession is altogether to blame for the chocolate law suit. I believe that it was a group of zealots (although I'm not sure exactly what they are zealous about) who have counsel sympathetic to their cause. You will notice how quickly the legal community disposed of the suit, declaring it frivolous.
As to the Massachusets fast food case, well that sounds like ambulance chasing to me.

Jock
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