In California, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65, established strict standards for over 800 chemicals, compounds and metals, some of which are found in certain consumer products and foods, including our own. Through diligent testing, we have determined that certain of our products contain lead or cadmium. California’s Proposition 65 therefore requires that these products be labeled to indicate the presence of these heavy metals, which are known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offer very little in the way of standards for heavy metals in foods, other than specific products such as mercury in tuna, for example. The European Union (EU) similarly does not set hard limits except for certain categories of foods and specific chemicals.
Cal Prop 65 is California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Companies are required to place a warning label on any product they sell within California if it exceeds the level, that the State has established as risk free for a list of over eight hundred chemicals. These standards are specific to the state of California only. The standard in California is more stringent than what is required at the U.S. federal level, and by other governments including Canada and the European Union.
Under Cal Prop 65, the State of California has determined a safety zone for these chemicals. This was calculated by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to have no observable effect and then dividing that level by 1,000, to provide a very large margin of safety. This margin has been proven in various cases to be calculated so low, that it has conflicted when the minerals are occurring naturally in the soil. California is the only state that requires warning labels at this low of a level.
We believe that the presence of these chemicals, at the extremely low concentrations at which they can be found, are the result of natural processes and the natural propensity of plants to bind to these elements. We recognize that we live on a volcanic planet, and that fact, coupled with human activity, has contributed to the dispersion of many substances into the environment. In particular, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and other substances that are commonly found in foods are of concern to everyone. Certain foods grown in conditions where such chemicals are found, either by natural or man-made causes, have a propensity to take up these chemicals during growth, and can sometimes be concentrated by processing. We do not add chemicals to our products, but our products are nevertheless thoroughly tested for the presence of various chemicals and heavy metals to ensure they are safe for customers and comply with organic standards as well applicable local, state, national and international regulations. We understand that there is a lot of information circulating that could be alarming to consumers when expressed without context or established standards. We can all agree that nobody wants heavy metals in food. But it is, for better or worse, a part of the natural world. We believe our products are safe. To put it simply, we would not sell anything that we would not eat.