Attorney General Becerra Issues Cease and Desist Letters and Files Suit Over Dangerous Levels of Lead in Toddler Formula
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that he issued two cease and desist letters and has filed suit against two businesses that make and sell toddler formula, Nutraceutical Corp. and Graceleigh Inc., due to the discovery of dangerously elevated levels of lead in their toddler formulas. Testing conducted by the California Department of Justice on two products – Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme and Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula – revealed that these formulas cause lead exposure between 13 and 15 times the maximum allowable dose level under California law without an adequate Proposition 65 warning. Both formulas exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Provisional Total Tolerable Intake daily levels for children under six. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra alleges that the two companies have violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Proposition 65, the state law that requires clear and reasonable warnings prior to exposing individuals to harmful chemicals. Attorney General Becerra is joined in filing this lawsuit by the District Attorneys of: Alameda; Marin; Monterey; Napa; Orange; Santa Clara; Santa Cruz; Shasta; Solano; and Sonoma Counties.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare. Toddler formula should contain nutrients that help children grow, not poisonous substances that can threaten their healthy development. No parent should have to worry that the formula they purchase could endanger their child,” said California Attorney General Becerra. “The levels of lead we found in these formulas are not acceptable – not in California, not anywhere. The legal action we take today puts all manufacturers on notice: the California Department of Justice will hold you accountable for gambling with our children’s health.”
“Nothing is more important to our community than the health and safety of children,” said Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley. “Napa County is joining this suit to ensure that toddler formula is safe from lead and other harmful ingredients.”
“Our office's Consumer Protection Unit is committed to prosecuting cases involving the most vulnerable populations in our county,” said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. “A joint effort, such as we have here with the Attorney General's Office and 9 other District Attorney’s Offices, reflects the importance of this case and this collaboration will help ensure we can hold companies responsible for violating the law.”
“When parents give their toddlers formula, they need to have peace of mind that the product they are giving them is safe and free of lead,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.“In fact, these formulas were targeted for sale to the most health conscious parents. By continuing to protect food safety, we hope to keep our citizens, especially vulnerable children, safe.”
The lawsuit alleges that both Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme and Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula are adulterated and should not be sold in California because they expose toddlers to lead in amounts that exceed the FDA’s Provisional Total Tolerable Intake Level for children. Sales of these two products therefore constitute an unfair business practice under California’s Unfair Competition Law. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the two products cause exposures that exceed the threshold warning levels for lead under Proposition 65 and that the companies failed to adequately warn consumers that these products would expose their children to lead. Proposition 65, approved by California voters in 1986, protects public health by requiring businesses to adequately warn consumers if they expose them to toxic chemicals, including lead. The Attorney General is the only public official with statewide authority to enforce Proposition 65.
Late last week, Attorney General Becerra sent cease and desist letters to Nutraceutical Corp. and Graceleigh Inc. In response, both companies have voluntarily agreed to stop selling these contaminated products in California. Any parent who already has either toddler formula — Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme and Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula — in the home should take precaution.
Attorney General Becerra has taken several actions to protect Californians from toxic substances. Among them, in April 2018, he secured a $1.6 million judgment against Luxy Accessory, Inc., a jewelry distributor based in Los Angeles, and its owner Hyun Sook Kim, for selling jewelry with excessive levels of lead and cadmium. He also obtained a $27.84 million settlement against Home Depot U.SA. in March 2018, which resolved allegations that its California stores and facilities unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste – including waste batteries, aerosol cans, paints, and electronic devices – throughout our state.
A copy of the complaint is attached to the electronic version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.