California Attorney General's Office

09/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2019 17:26

Attorney General Becerra Announces Settlement Against Newport Beach Company Grass Advantage for Selling Nutrition Products With Excessive Levels of Lead

SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $213,167 settlement against Grass Advantage, also known as Amazing Grass, a company based in Newport Beach, California, marketed as a nutrition company specializing in organic food supplements, greens, and protein powders. The settlement resolves allegations that Amazing Grass sold and distributed thirteen products containing excessive levels of lead or cadmium in violation of California's Proposition 65 law. As required by the law, businesses must provide a warning before exposing consumers to chemicals known to cause reproductive harm or cancer. However, the complaint alleges Amazing Grass failed to provide such warnings, and the company even touted the ability of the products to remove metals from the body. These toxic metals can cause severe and chronic health effects, including neurological impairments. Children and pregnant or nursing women are the most vulnerable to lead exposure, and recent studies demonstrate that lead can damage the human nervous system at even lower levels than previously believed. Children who are exposed to lead may suffer cognitive impairment, slowed body growth, and hearing damage, among other developmental harms. The Attorney General also alleged that Amazing Grass violated California's False Advertising Law by making or causing others to make untrue or misleading statements to induce consumers to purchase their products, as well as the Unfair Competition Law.

'Lead and cadmium are highly toxic and can cause serious health problems, even at low levels,' said Attorney General Becerra. 'Today's settlement should send a strong message to anyone who would put profits ahead of public health. It doesn't pay - the California Department of Justice will hold you accountable.'

Investigators from the Attorney General's Office found that Amazing Meal Chocolate Infusion and Amazing Grass Raw Reserve Chocolate contained excessive levels of lead or cadmium. Based on additional test results and information supplied to the Attorney General, the Attorney General's settlement will also cover these products: Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Whole Food Nutrition Bar Café Mocha, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Whole Food Nutrition Bar Lemon Coconut, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Whole Food Nutrition Bar Chocolate, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Whole Food Nutrition Bar Chocolate Chip Coconut, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Alkalize & Detox, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Tangerine Immunity Defense, Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Pineapple Multivitamin Lemongrass, and Amazing Grass Green Superfood Watermelon Energy, Amazing Grass Green Superfood Acai-Berry Antioxidant ORAC. Amazing Grass elected to discontinue sales of seven of these products that contained high lead levels.

As required by the settlement, Amazing Grass must take vigorous steps to reduce the lead levels in the products that it continues to sell. Amazing Grass must retain a food quality auditor who will recommend measures for reducing lead levels in the products, including identifying low-lead ingredient sources and other lead-specific quality control measures. The auditor will also calculate the amount of any naturally occurring lead in the products. Amazing Grass will implement the auditor's recommendations and provide a warning for any products that result in exposures above Proposition 65's threshold level. The company is also required to routinely test the covered products and to provide test results at the request of the office of the Attorney General for a minimum of three years.

Amazing Grass will pay monetary penalties totaling $213,167.

A copy of the complaint can be found here, and judgment can be found here