A California state court has approved the settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) alleging that PepsiCo Inc. products contain levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) that exceed the limits imposed by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65). Ctr. for Envtl. Health v. Pepsi Beverages Co., No. 14711020 (Cal. Super. Ct., order entered September 17, 2015). Under the settlement agreement, PepsiCo will pay $385,000 and must ensure by January 1, 2016, that its soft drinks sold in California contain levels of 4-MEI within the safe harbor limits set by Prop. 65. CEH initially filed a notice of violation with the California Office of the Attorney General in January 2012; details appear in Issue 427 of this Update.
Meanwhile, the parties to a proposed class action alleging similar facts have agreed to stay the case until December 14, 2015, pending settlement discussions; the court has not yet granted approval for the stay. Sciortino v. PepsiCo, Inc., No. 178953 (N.D. Cal., stipulation filed September 15, 2015). Additional information about the case appears in Issue 568 of this Update, and details of a similar lawsuit dismissed in March 2015 appear in Issue 557.