New California regulations will require companies with 10 or more employees to provide “clear and reasonable” warnings and more detailed information to consumers on warning labels placed on products manufactured after August 30, 2018.
The new regulations are the first major update made to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which was initially approved as a ballot initiative. The Act, also known as Proposition 65, outlines a list of dangerous toxins and chemicals that companies must inform California consumers about inside of products, including food products.
Proposition 65 food warnings are expected to be the next legal battleground for consumers attempting to hold companies responsible for accurate food labels. Already in 2016, consumers filed nearly 250 Proposition 65 warning letters to companies regarding everything from food to beverages to spices.
What Are the New Requirements for Proposition 65 Food Warnings?
Businesses involved in any link of the chain of commerce have to give a clear and reasonable warning to California consumers about exposure to particular chemicals for products that are released into the environment or used and purchased by consumers.
Under the new state regulations, manufacturers must provide a more detailed warning on products identifying the chemical contained therein and the possible harm it could cause, including whether it could cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.
Companies must include a pictograph warning label containing a black exclamation point inside a yellow triangle with a black outline, in a font size of at least 6 points.
The following language is also required for all Prop 65 food warnings and other types of products:
WARNING: THIS PRODUCT AND EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS INCLUDING [ONE OR MORE OF THE LISTED CHEMICALS] WHICH [IS/ARE] KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE [CANCER AND/OR BIRTH DEFECTS OR OTHER REPRODUCTIVE HARM]. FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO TO www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
Other requirements include:
- Manufacturers must ship their products with the Prop 65 warning labels attached or provide the warnings to the retailer with written confirmation of receipt by the retailer.
- For products listed for sale online, the Prop 65 warning lable must be contained on the product display page together with a hyperlink to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. (See above example.)
- The Prop 65 warning label must be renewed annually or within 90 days of when changes are made to the list of chemicals or risk of harm.
Prop 65 Food Warnings
California keeps an updated Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity or cancer. More than 900 chemicals on the list presently.
Since new chemicals are added to the Proposition 65 list annually, manufacturers must monitor whether any of their products are affected and ensure compliance each year. Items that previously did not require a Proposition 65 food warning may need one if a new chemical is added to the list.
Businesses are not currently required to relabel products that are already in the stream of commerce to comply with the new Prop 65 warning regulations. However, any products manufactured after August 30, 2018 must have the updated warning.
If you purchased a product that did not contain a proper Prop 65 warning label, the attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher want to know. They work hard on behalf of clients who have been misled about what materials are inside their consumer products. Fill out the form on this page now for a FREE review of your claims.