Kroger Is Under Fire for Selling This to Shoppers, Lawsuit Claims
One organization is alleging that the grocery chain has put customers' health at risk.
Kroger services nearly nine million people around the U.S. every day, ranking as the largest supermarket chain in the country by the revenue. And while some shoppers might just like the chain's friendly customer service, one of its biggest pulls is actually its wide selection of fresh and organic foods. Customers often praise the high quality of Kroger's grocery items, from its meat to its produce. But some of the food it sells is now being scrutinized. Kroger was just hit with a lawsuit from a major organization over selling certain products to shoppers. Read on to find out more about the lawsuit against Kroger.
RELATED: Kroger Is Pulling This Popular Product From Shelves, Effective Immediately.
Kroger has been sued over some of the products it sells.
The Ecological Alliance organization has just sued Kroger, claiming that a number of the grocery chain's private-label products contain high lead levels, Insider reported. According to the news outlet, environmental attorney Vineet Dubey filed the lawsuit against the grocer on March 7 in Los Angeles County's Superior Court on behalf of the environmental nonprofit. The suit claims that Kroger has failed to warn shoppers of "the presence of chemicals, including lead" in several of its store brand items. The grocery chain has not responded to the claims yet, according to Insider.
A testing lab reportedly found that several Kroger items contain more lead than is permitted.
The Ecological Alliance commissioned an "independent food testing lab" to test the chemical levels in a number of different Kroger products, Dubey states in the lawsuit. The lab reportedly discovered that several of the items contained lead levels that are well over the state of California's "daily maximum exposure level" of just 0.5 micrograms. All of the products mentioned in the suit belong to one of three private label brands from Kroger: its namesake brand, Simple Truth, and Private Selection.
According to the suit, the product that tested highest was Kroger's "Spinach With Bacon Salad Kit For One," which the lab found to contain 70.1 micrograms of lead—over 140 times greater than the daily state allowance. Other offenders included Kroger's sweet peas and carrots, which contained 33.1 micrograms of lead; its graham crackers, which contained 11.2 micrograms; and its cinnamon raisin bagels, which tested for 6.82 micrograms.
RELATED: For more retail news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Excessive exposure to lead can be fatal.
High levels of lead have been linked to serious health concerns, which is why there are various regulations on how much is allowed in a product. "Lead is a toxic metal that, even at low levels, may cause a range of health effects, including behavioral problems and learning disabilities," the suit states. "Young children are most at risk because their brains are developing; however, lead exposure affects people of all ages."
As further explained in the lawsuit, lead exposure can affect several aspects of a child's development, from neurological to sight and hearing. In adults, lead exposure can "lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, and brain damage," the organization adds.
Even exposure to high levels of lead over a short period of time can lead to lead poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Signs of this may include abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, pain or tingling in the hands and feet, and weakness. "Very high lead exposure can cause death," the CDC warns.
The Ecological Alliance is calling on Kroger to remove these items.
According to the lawsuit, the Ecological Alliance warned Kroger several times between June and Oct. 2021 of the lead content its independent lab found. The organization also warned California's Attorney General and various city attorneys in the state during this time, but the suit alleges that public officials "have failed to commence and diligently prosecute a cause of action against" the grocery chain.
In terms of all the products it found with high levels, Dubey said in a statement to Insider that Kroger "should immediately remove these items from its shelves and put into place new quality controls." According to the news outlet, the full lawsuit is asking that the company pull these products from its stores in California, lower the alleged leads levels in the items, add warnings to its packaging, and pay "civil penalties" of up to $2,500 per each violation.
RELATED: If You Bought This From Walmart or Kroger, Get Rid of It Immediately.