Vineet Dubey, partner and co-founder of Custodio & Dubey LLP, recently filed a lawsuit against Trader Joe’s, one of the top-ranked grocery store chains in the U.S, after it was found to be selling products containing dangerous levels of lead.
“We all love and trust Trader Joe’s,” he said. “That’s why it’s disappointing to discover they are selling foods they have been told contain absurd amounts of lead.”
In California, the maximum level of ingested lead for adults is set at 0.5 micrograms per day. However, an independent lab found five popular Trader Joe’s products contain up to 50 times more lead than California's maximum. They are Trader Joe’s Super Spinach Salad, which contained 25.3 micrograms, Panak Paneer, which contained 16.2 micrograms, Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry, which contained 10.4, Organic Pesto Tortellini, which contained 10.0 micrograms, and Vegetarian Spring Rolls, which contained 4.4 micrograms.
How does ingesting heavy metals—such as, lead, mercury, and arsenic— impact your health? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), heavy metals can become harmful when they accumulate in large quantities in your body. Lead poisoning in adults, for example, can result in miscarriages, male infertility, hypertension and neurological problems including mood disorders, memory loss, tremors and hallucinations.
In children, lead poisoning can cause brain and nervous system damage, growth and development issues, and hearing and speech impairment. Not only can the presence of this foreign matter bring about heavy metal poisoning, it can also increase risk for diseases like cancer.
Dubey explained to Popular Mechanics: “The immediate goal is to have these products pulled off the shelves and not sold again unless the lead is removed. The long-term goal is to force Trader Joe’s to require stricter testing of any food products they sell to consumers to make sure they are not selling food tainted with lead.”
Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s keeps the supply chain for their products under wraps, so the company’s alleged lead problems could be even more extensive if third-party manufacturers are involved in producing their products. The results of this test bring about questions regarding the safety of prepared food products and the testing manufacturers use to certify the safety of their products.