The Massachusetts federal court overseeing multidistrict litigation against 11 beverage companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and Del Monte Corp., alleging that their fruit juices contained trace amounts of lead, dismissed the claims last week. In re Fruit Juice Products Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 11-2231 (D. Mass., 12/21/11).
Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants misled them into believing that certain of their products were safe, whereas the products in fact contained lead and posed a health risk, especially to children. The issue had caught the attention of the FDA, which concluded that while several of the products contained trace amounts of lead, in each case the level found would not pose an unacceptable risk to health. (The FDA’s conclusion was based in part on a guidance report it issued in 2004. The agency concluded that many food products contain small amounts of lead because the substance is in the environment naturally and also released through many human activities.)
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