Christopher Lazazzaro has filed a complaint alleging that the company deceived consumers by omitting to disclose the amounts of lead and cadmium in three dark chocolate bars.
If he had known, he stated, he would not have bought the products.
According to several studies, dark chocolate’s antioxidants and relatively low sugar content may help lower the risk of heart disease.
However, the complaint makes reference to recent results by US publication Consumer Reports (CR), which examined the levels of lead and cadmium in 28 dark chocolate bars.
According to the magazine, 23 of them, including Lindt, Hershey, and Godiva chocolate, had “comparatively greater amounts” of the metals.
According to public health officials and CR’s experts, consuming just an ounce (28g) of 23 of the bars every day would put an adult over a limit that may be dangerous for at least one of those heavy metals.
Lead levels were particularly high in Hershey’s Special Dark and Lily’s 70% bars, while levels of lead and cadmium were particularly high in Lily’s 85% bar.
According to dietitian Sheeba Majmudar, “Any food might include heavy metals if they are present in the soil in high concentration.”
In his claim, Mr. Lazazzaro contends that he would not have chosen to pay less for the bars of Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate, Lily’s Extra Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa, and Lily’s Extreme Dark Chocolate. The action was filed on Wednesday in a federal court in New York.
In June of last year, Hershey acquired Lily’s, a maker of low-sugar treats, describing it as “a terrific addition to Hershey’s growing portfolio of better-for-you snacking brands.”
The complaint claims that “consumers rely on [Hershey] to be truthful regarding the ingredients.”
Parents and other adults who are responsible for children are “concerned with what they are giving to youngsters in their care,” it adds. People are “concerned with what is in the food that they are putting into their bodies.”
In the proposed class action case, Mr. Lazazzaro is suing Hershey for at least $5 million (£4.2 million) in damages.