McCormick Herbs, Spices Contain ‘Heightened Levels’ of Toxic Heavy Metals, Class Action Alleges
Last Updated on January 16, 2023
Balistreri et al. v. McCormick & Company, Inc.
Filed: January 18, 2022 ◆§ 5:22-cv-00349
A number of McCormick herbs and spices contain heightened levels of toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and cadmium, a class action lawsuit alleges.
California Business and Professions Code California Consumers Legal Remedies Act Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
A number of McCormick herbs and spices contain heightened levels of toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and cadmium, a proposed class action lawsuit alleges.
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Central to the 21-page suit against McCormick & Company, Inc. is a November 2021 Consumer Reports piece that found that a number of brands of herbs and spices were contaminated with toxic heavy metals linked to cancer and other serious health issues. The lawsuit, filed in California on January 18, contends that although other companies in the industry have adapted to limit the levels of heavy metals found in their herbs and spices, McCormick has “stood idly by with a reckless disregard for its consumers’ health and well-being.”
The specific McCormick products alleged to contain heightened amounts of toxic heavy metals include the company’s ground basil, ground ginger, ground oregano, paprika, ground thyme and ground turmeric. As the case tells it, the levels of heavy metals in the foregoing McCormick herbs and spices “far exceed consumer expectations.”
According to the complaint, the harmful effects of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium are well documented, and include the risk of children developing a lower IQ, behavioral problems and/or other adverse health conditions. For adults, heavy metals in even modest amounts can increase the risk of cancer, cognitive and reproductive issues and other conditions, the case says.
With regard to the November 2021 Consumer Reports article, the lawsuit states that 126 individual products from brands such as Great Value, La Flor, McCormick, Penzeys, Spice Islands and Trader Joe’s were comprehensively analyzed. Per the case, roughly one-third of the tested products, 40 in all, had high enough levels of heavy metals to “pose a health concern for children when regularly consumed in typical serving sizes,” as well as for adults.
“The authors cautioned that ‘just one serving—3/4 teaspoons or more—per day leaves little room for heavy metal exposure from other sources’ including ‘fruit juice, baby food, and rice[.]’ These latter food categories have also tested high for heavy metals and have been the subject of numerous lawsuits.”
The lawsuit says that although Consumer Reports determined that it is possible for companies to limit the heavy metals found in their products, McCormick nevertheless “fails to test for heavy metals,” even though competitors do so.
“Accordingly, provided this industry standard, Defendant would have had the knowledge that it could test for heavy metals, but it did not, and that it could safely remove these metals from its herbs and spice, but, again, did not,” the complaint charges. “Instead, Defendant chose to ignore the health of the consuming public in pursuit of profit.”
The suit alleges McCormick “intentionally and knowingly concealed” the fact that certain herbs and spices it makes contain toxic heavy metals, and knew that consumers would not buy the products had the presence of heavy metals been disclosed on their labels.
The lawsuit looks to cover all persons in the United States who have bought any of the McCormick herbs and spices listed on this page.
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Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.
Read more here: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Claims
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