California Proposition 65 Statement

California law contains what is known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also referred to as Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”).  Prop 65 is a unique California only “right to know” law that requires products sold in California to bear warning notices about potential exposure to any of the over 800 substances listed by the state.  As a practical matter, Prop 65 warnings are required for any product (food or non-food) that exposes an individual in California to virtually any detectable amount of a listed chemical.

Prop 65 does not ban any products from sale in California; it simply requires warnings about the listed chemical contained in the product. No other state has a law similar to Proposition 65, which requires warnings for listed chemicals contained in products at levels that are far below levels known to cause any actual harm, or that are regulated by the FDA or other federal law.  Lawsuits to enforce Prop 65 against manufacturers, distributors or retailers may be instituted by the State of California, or much more frequently by private “bounty hunters” and their attorneys who profit from the law.

Recently, Asian businesses have come under attack by private Proposition 65 bounty hunters over alleged trace amounts of lead contained in various specialty food products.  Many Asian products like roasted seaweed and other ethnic foods and spices contain trace levels of lead, a chemical listed under Proposition 65, because lead is found naturally in the soils in which these products are grown.  Frequently, the exposure levels established by Prop 65 can be less than what occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, fish and other foods that are part of a healthy diet. 

Trace amounts of lead listed under California’s Proposition 65 are found in some of even the most carefully selected products that Anhing sells.  Lead is a naturally occurring element that is found throughout the entire environment, including in soils where it can be taken up by natural plants and herbs all over the world.  None of these elements are added by Anhing, who procures its products from manufacturers that it understands utilize good manufacturing practices to minimize or eliminate any contamination. 

As a business decision, Anhing generally prefers to comply with Prop 65 by providing warnings for its products where there may be detectable levels of trace amounts of listed chemicals.  Anhing strongly believes that any minute levels of the chemicals listed by Prop 65 in its products should be exempted under the "naturally occurring allowance" exception.  However, like many other Asian suppliers of specialty foods, Anhing has chosen to provide Proposition 65 warnings rather than engage in a long and protracted legal battle to prove in court that any listed chemicals contained in its products are naturally occurring. 

You should also be aware that the Governor of California proposed reforms to end abusive Proposition 65 lawsuits.  To learn more about these efforts, please visit the following link:  http://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18026