"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below."
Trader Joe’s is being sued by a consumer who claims the grocery store is misleading shoppers about the amount of harmful metals in its dark chocolate bars.
This lawsuit follows a December 2022 report by Consumer Reports, in which scientists measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 different chocolate bars.
High levels of lead and cadmium can be harmful to your health.
Before you reach for a piece of your favorite chocolate bar, be sure to check where you got it from. Your favorite dark chocolate may contain harmful levels of lead and cadmium, according to a new lawsuit.
Trader Joe’s is facing a class-action lawsuit that alleges the company misled and put consumers’ health at risk by failing to disclose on packaging that select dark chocolate products contain harmful levels of metals.
In the lawsuit filed on January 4th by a New York consumer, said that Trader Joe’s failed to disclose that the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao and Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate 85% Cacao contain lead and cadmium. This lawsuit comes only one week after a similar class-action suit was filed in the same court against The Hershey Company.
Both lawsuits follow a December 2022 report by Consumer Reports, where scientists measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 different chocolate bars from various brands— cadmium and lead were detected in all of them, including Trader Joe’s products. Twenty-three of the bars tested by Consumer Reports contained potentially harmful levels of heavy metals for adults who eat one ounce a day, the outlet noted.
It’s important to note that while the presence of any metals in food is undoubtedly concerning, the levels that Consumer Reports used as a benchmark are not those of food safety standards. So while it might be concerning to find out that your go-to quick treat contains lead or other heavy metals, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in danger.
That being said, lead can be a dangerous and harmful chemical when ingested, especially by pregnant women and children. Scientists agree that there is no level of lead that is safe, the lawsuit states.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), lead is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age or health status. While it is not possible to prevent or remove lead entirely from foods, the FDA notes, the levels in food can be reduced. By law, food manufacturers have a responsibility to implement controls to significantly minimize or prevent exposure to chemical hazards—including lead, per the FDA’s website.
While you’d likely need to eat a lot of the chocolate mentioned above to see health effects, the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning, according to Mayo Clinic, include:
Joint and muscle pain
Difficulties with memory or concentration
Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
Miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth in pregnant women
For children and adults with relatively low lead levels, simply avoiding exposure to lead might be enough to reduce blood lead levels. However, for more severe cases, your doctor might recommend chelation therapy. In this treatment, a medication given by mouth binds with the lead so that it’s excreted in the urine.
While you may hear more about lead in the news, high levels of cadmium in your food can be just as harmful. It’s in many products, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics, and found in cigarette smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC writes that “exposure to low levels of cadmium in air, food, water, and particularly in tobacco smoke over time may build up cadmium in the kidneys and cause kidney disease and fragile bones.” Cadmium is considered a cancer-causing agent (a carcinogen).
However, whether the levels of lead and cadmium in Trader Joe’s products are truly harmful is still up for debate. The National Confectioners Association, for one, has countered that in general, chocolate and cocoa are safe to eat, and many chocolate bars contain levels of lead, per TODAY.
You Might Also Like