A lawsuit filed in New York state alleges that Hershey’s “fails to disclose” that some of its chocolate products “contain unsafe levels of lead and cadmium”. On December 28, New York resident, Christopher Lazazzaro, filed the lawsuit in federal court on Long Island. The suit seeks class-action status against the mass-market chocolatier, which obtained the licence to manufacture Cadbury products in the United States in 1988, as per a report in The Guardian.
The outlet further states that Hershey’s sources its ingredients and manufactures its products with “exclusive knowledge of the quality control testing on the products and the ingredients contained therein,” the lawsuit claims that Hershey “knew and could not be unaware of the existence of lead and cadmium in the products.”
However, the complaint makes reference to recent results by US magazine Consumer Reports (CR), which examined the levels of lead and cadmium in 28 dark chocolate bars. According to the magazine, 23 of them, including Lindt, Hershey, and Godiva chocolate, had “comparatively greater amounts” of the metals. “For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce (28g) a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR’s experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals,” mentions the report.
Lead levels were particularly high in Hershey’s Special Dark and Lily’s 70 percent bars, while levels of lead and cadmium were particularly high in Lily’s 85 percent bar, the BBC states.
In his claim, Mr Lazazzaro contends that he would not have chosen to pay less for the bars of Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate, Lily’s Extra Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, and Lily’s Extreme Dark Chocolate.
Lead poisoning can result in a number of health issues, including anaemia and frailty. Lead poisoning can harm the kidneys and the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children exposed to lead run the risk of developing learning and behavioural problems, as well as harm to the brain and neurological system.