A number of companies that make cereals and other products containing acrylamide, a chemical believed to be a by-product of the Maillard reaction and found in baked or fried starchy foods, have been sued under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65) for failing to provide warnings to consumers. RBC Four Co. LLC v. Post Foods, LLC, No. BC507122 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cnty., filed April 30, 2013).

According to the plaintiff, the chemical was added to the Prop. 65 list as a substance known to the state to cause cancer in January 1990 and became subject to the law’s warning requirements 20 months later. The complaint also notes that the current safe-harbor acrylamide-intake level is .2 μg/day and that the defendants’ products contain acrylamide levels that exceed maximum allowable dose levels “for chemicals causing reproductive toxicity with require warnings under Proposition 65.”

Alleging that “from 1991 to the present Defendant’s have knowingly and intentionally exposed persons who consume their products in California to acrylamide . . . without first giving a clear and reasonable warning of such to the persons exposed or the persons who purchased their products,” the plaintiff seeks penalties, equitable relief, attorney’s fees, and costs.