A California federal court has granted preliminary approval for a settlement agreement in a lawsuit alleging PepsiCo products contain levels of 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) exceeding the legally permissible amount under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65). Sciortino v. PepsiCo Inc., No. 14-0478 (N.D. Cal., order entered June 28, 2016).

Under the settlement, PepsiCo has agreed “to require its caramel coloring suppliers to meet certain 4-MeI levels in products shipped for sale in the United States, ensuring the 4-MeI concentration levels will not exceed the level of 100 parts per billion, and to test the covered products pursuant to an agreed protocol.” The court noted that the injunctive relief is the same as the agreement in an action brought by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) alleging similar facts. “However, the Settlement Agreement will ‘enhance the CEH settlement by: (1) expanding the geographic scope of the stipulated injunction from California to nationwide; (2) increasing the duration of the injunctive relief from three years to five years,’” the court stated. Further details about the case appear in Issue 568 of this Update, while addition information on CEH’s lawsuit appears in Issues 427 and 579.