A top food manufacturer known for the Oreo, Nabisco, Trident and Cadbury brands has agreed to settle a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court alleging it sold ginger snap cookies exceeding the state’s limit on lead content, officials said Friday.

Nabisco Ginger Snap cookies. Photo via themindoftefft.com
The settlement was reached Thursday and was awaiting a judge’s approval, according to California Attorney General’s Office, which was a party to the litigation along with district attorney’s offices in 11 counties, including Orange.

At issue was Mondelez International Inc.’s Nabisco Ginger Snap cookies, which the plaintiffs alleged had lead content nine times the state’s limit. It has not been determined at what level lead can pose health risks, but the state mandates a warning to consumers if the product contains 0.5 micrograms of lead per serving per day, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The lawsuit alleged the ginger snaps contained lead up to nine times more than the state’s level.

“The levels of lead found in Nabisco’s Ginger Snap cookies posed a serious public health threat, potentially impacting the brain development of our children,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “Parents need accurate information to make educated food choices for their children.”

The settlement requires the company to pay $758,250 and have a food quality auditor train workers and monitor the supply chain of ingredients to guard against higher than acceptable lead levels.

A spokeswoman for Mondelez said the company does not believe its products post any health risk.

“On Nov. 10, 2015, Mondelez International entered into a settlement related to a Proposition 65 law-related case in the State of California,” Laurie Guzzinati of Mondelez said.

“While we have settled this case, we remain confident that these products pose no health or safety concern to consumers and that all our products are sold in compliance with applicable federal and state laws,” Guzzinati said. “We felt it was in the best interest of all parties concerned to resolve this matter at this time to avoid protracted litigation.”

— City News Service

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